By Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk CEO 

Starting out

I cannot write a blog about my first few months as Beanstalk’s new CEO without mentioning that those same months were the last few months of my partner’s life. She died on September 5th just as the new term was beginning. A battle with cancer. Sadly my story isn't unique – through this experience I have heard so many similar stories. Each one individual but with a tragic common thread. One thing I've certainly learnt is not to be afraid to share these stories. They can bring solace and also hope.

We are a charity that tells stories and in my first few months I have been inspired listening to reading helpers reading stories with children, volunteers sharing their own stories of why they love Beanstalk, and laughing together as staff create stories as we build teams. Part of our plan this year is to ‘tell our story far and wide‘, to capture people’s imagination and draw them in to our Beanstalk family.

Today it was announced that Beanstalk has won the International Prize at the US Library of Congress Literacy Awards, recognising our work as a best practice in literacy. Our story has reached Washington DC!
The next chapter
How significant these words were as I stood up at Beanstalk’s Staff Conference in July. Beanstalk is moving into a new chapter, as am I.
We have a busy year ahead.
Our aim is clear. To give more children the chance to get the help they need, help that we know our invaluable one-to-one support gives them. Children who often have such very challenging lives fall behind as they struggle to make sense of words on a page. We all know how limiting this can be and at Beanstalk we know what to do. This year our aim is to be supporting over 11,000 children by July 2016.
We also know the importance of collaboration to have a greater impact and make a bigger difference. We are active in the Read On. Get On. campaign, working with Save the Children and the campaign’s coalition partners to get all children reading well, and we are active building local networks. This helps us to grow, develop and succeed.
This year we embark on a mission to gather more evidence of the impact we make than we have ever done before. This will enhance our story and encourage more people to listen and share our vision.
As the leaves change colour and fall from the trees, we move into a new season together. I look forward to writing more of our story.