24th March 2017

Beanstalk has been selected as one of five projects to be funded as part of the Give More Get More Fund.

Beanstalk will receive £100,000 to recruit, train and support volunteers aged 50+ to deliver intensive one-to-one support to children who have fallen behind with their literacy skills and confidence. Volunteers will work with children four times a week for one school term.  

Beanstalk will test and evaluate whether intensive volunteering can bring real, long-lasting improvements to the literacy skills and confidence of primary school children as they move into secondary school. The project will also help establish best practice when it comes to retaining the time and talents of people over the age of 50.

Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk CEO said:

  • “We are delighted to have received this funding from Nesta and the Office for Civil Society, which will allow us trial a new intensive volunteering programme for people who can perhaps only commit to volunteering for a limited time, such as a school term.”
  • “It is wonderful to be working with partners focused on innovation and we are confident that the funding will have a positive impact on children, schools and volunteering – benefitting the wider community as a whole.”

The funding awarded to Beanstalk follows on from Nesta’s and the Office for Civil Society’s Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund which ran from 2013-16 and mobilised volunteers to work alongside public services.

Beanstalk is a national charity with over 40 years’ experience of providing one-to-one support to children in primary schools through trained volunteer reading helpers.

Last year almost 3,100 Beanstalk-trained reading helpers supported over 11,000 children in almost 1,400 schools in England.  Eighty two per cent of schools Beanstalk work with say their reading helpers helped their school achieve its literacy outcomes, while 96% said they helped the children improve their confidence.

Notes to editors

  1. 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 beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.
  2. 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 transformed.
  3. Nesta is a global innovation foundation. Nesta’s mission is to spark and shape new ideas to improve how the world works for everyone. They use knowledge, networks, funding and skills to take on big challenges, working in partnership with others to make change happen.
  4. In the last academic year Beanstalk supported over 11,000 children.
  5. Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England in the North, Midlands, Somerset, Greater London and South East England.
  6. Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President.
  7. Sources for statistics are available on request.