Tuesday 18th July  

The education of disadvantaged children in the North West has been given a major boost thanks to a £31,000 grant from West Lancashire Freemasons.

The partnership between the Beanstalk charity and the Freemasons will result in nearly 100 children with reading difficulties across Greater Manchester and Sefton receiving the one-to-one literacy support they need to succeed in school.

Beanstalk is a national charity which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading.

Beanstalk-trained reading helpers will work one-to-one with the children to improve their reading ability and confidence. Together they will read, talk, and play educational games to ensure that they have the skills to reach their true potential.

Robert Wright from the West Lancashire Freemasons visited Christ Church CE Primary School in Bootle on Tuesday, meeting with teachers and Volunteer Reading Helpers to learn more about the vital support that Beanstalk volunteers are providing to children who are struggling with their reading.

The grant from West Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation which is funded by the generosity of Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales.

The one-to-one support provided by Beanstalk trained reading helpers is proven to transform the literacy skills and confidence of children. Research shows that only 20 per cent of children supported by a Beanstalk reading helper were still unable to sound out new words correctly when reading new books, compared to almost 50 per cent prior to the intervention.

Robert Wright from West Lancashire Freemasons said:

“We are very pleased to be able to support Beanstalk’s excellent work in schools. If these children are not able to read and write properly they will fail to get much out of their education and their whole future will be put at risk.”

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk said:

“Beanstalk is extremely grateful to West Lancashire Freemasons for the generous grant towards our work with children in the North West. Thanks to your wonderful support we will support many children to develop the reading skills they need to reach their true potential. On behalf of all the children whose lives will be transformed, thank you so much.”

If you think you could volunteer and help disadvantaged children in Greater Manchester and Sefton by becoming a Beanstalk reading helper please visit: www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk


Notes to the editor:

The attached photographs include:

  1. Freemason Robert Wright together with a pupil from Christ Church Primary
  2. (l-r) Robert Wright from West Lancashire Freemasons, Stuart Clay, a Beanstalk Reading Helper, Philippa Kelly, a Beanstalk Reading Helper and Les Fletcher, Beanstalk Reading Helper with two pupils from the School.

For press enquiries at Beanstalk, please contact Sarah Pickstone at [email protected]

For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer ([email protected]  |0203 146 3311)

Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for a whole year. Together, they read, play and talk. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.

In the last academic year Beanstalk supported over 11,000 children.

Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England in the North, Midlands, Somerset, Greater London and Kent & Medway.

Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President. 

Sources for statistics are available on request.

About Beanstalk

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Beanstalk's vision is that all children and young people have the essential skills they need to grow up and lead successful lives. To find out how to volunteer, visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief.  In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Masonic families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk