We are sharing stories from our Story Starters volunteers to spread the word about the importance of the support they give and the lasting difference they make.  

Volunteering on a weekly basis, our Story Starters volunteers provide one-to-one support to children in local early years settings (e.g. nurseries) helping to introduce them to the wonderful world of books and stories whilst developing essential language and communication skills that will help them to start school ready to read.  

Apply to become a Story Starters volunteer here


What is the best bit about volunteering as a Story Starters volunteer?  

The best about volunteering with Story Starters is to be accepted as the person you are. To be met with curiosity and non-judgmental interest. Your own enthusiasm is infectious, especially when you show interest in each child. They are all so different with fascinating characters. Most of all, it is great fun! Be prepared to laugh. 

It is always great to be greeted by a chorus of ‘hello’ when I arrive and so many children asking me to play or show me their latest findings such as paintings and stickersEveryone wants to help carry the heavy book box to the story corner. One time, a little chap refused to come and read with me because he had two pieces of card and wanted them to be turned into a car.  Well, I’m no magician but said if he came to our book corner I would try. My efforts were crude but by folding and tearing I managed to create a lorry with a rolled-up piece of cargo on the back. He thought it was magnificent and was happy to set it aside while we read our books. 

What has been the children’s reactions to the sessions? 

The Story Starters children are always happy to join me. In fact, everyone wants to join me! The other children can see us reading books and having fun and want to be part of it. I usually promise to play games when I finish my Story Starters session, so they don’t get upset. I always keep my promises.  

What would you say to anyone who is interested in becoming a Story Starters volunteer? 

Remember what it was like when you were young and beginning to learn about life and the people around you. Sometimes we need someone to stop, take our hand, lead us through part of the maze, while having fun on the journey. 

I love being a Story Starters volunteer. It has made such a big difference to my life. Family and friends remark how much happier I am, and everyone loves to hear about my adventures. 

Initially, I wanted to make a difference, if only a small one, but have discovered the children I meet have made a huge difference to me as well. 

You can apply to become a Story Starters volunteer here 

You can find out about other Beanstalk voluntary programmes here