11th February 2016

On February 11th national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk launched its work in Somerset to provide local primary schools with additional support to help transform the reading attainment and confidence of local school children. 

Beanstalk is a national charity with over forty years’ experience in working in partnership with schools to transform the lives of children who are falling behind with their reading. The charity provides consistent, one-to-one literacy support to struggling and reluctant readers in schools through trained volunteers and is now expanding its work into Somerset. Beanstalk aims to have recruited and placed its first trained reading helpers by the start of the autumn 2016 term.

Beanstalk launched its work in Somerset on Thursday 11th February at an event in the amazing 15thC hall, ‘The Rib’ in Wells at 6pm. The launch was attended by a range of local supporters, and featured a talk from Ginny Lunn (Beanstalk’s CEO) about the impact Beanstalk wants to have on the lives of children in the Somerset area.

Beanstalk’s launch in Somerset has been praised by key figures in the Somerset area,including the Mayor of Wells, who has chosen it as one of his charities of the year. The Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset says:

  • "Beanstalk is exactly the kind of initiative I want to promote during my term as Lord- Lieutenant. I have seen in the courts the consequences for children who have problems with literacy - they may not start as "bad" children, but they stand a high chance of ending up unemployed or amongst the prison population. I want to give these children a chance in life, and that's why I'm so keen for Beanstalk to start working in Somerset." - Annie Maw, Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset

Chair of the Wells Festival of Literature, Emma Craigie, says:

  • “Wells Festival of Literature is delighted to be able to support the launch of Beanstalk in the South-West. Beanstalk has a brilliant track record at engaging children in reading and it's wonderful that their high quality support will be available to children throughout Somerset.’

Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk CEO, says:

  • “Schools do a fantastic job teaching children to read, but there are still some children who will struggle for all sorts of reasons. If they leave primary school unable to read well, it can have devastating effects on their future prospects. Beanstalk’s trained reading helpers can provide that additional one-to-one support that so many children need to gain confidence and discover the magic of reading. That’s why I am delighted that Beanstalk is set to launch our work in Somerset, so that more children can grow up with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life. I encourage members of the local community to come forward to become Beanstalk reading helpers – seeing a child’s face light up when they see you every week to help them is a highly rewarding experience! I also ask local primary schools to contact us about our plans and so that we can help as many children as possible in the coming years.”

Beanstalk reading helpers support three children each, seeing each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for three terms. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is transformed.

To find out more, or to become a Beanstalk reading helper, call Beanstalk on 020 7730

8259 or visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk 


Notes to editors:


  1. Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Its vision is a nation of confident children who can read and grow up to lead successful lives. To find out how to volunteer, visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.
  1. 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.
  1. All statistics quotes are based upon official government data. Direct sources available upon request.
  1. Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England through 17 Area Offices in the North, Midlands, Central England, Somerset, Greater London and Kent.
  1. Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President.
  1. For more information or quotes please contact Amelia Shaw at 020 7730 8259