13th January 2020

Coram Beanstalk is set to launch this exciting new project with the aim of getting more primary school children in Bath to enjoy the magic of books and reading well.

With a £30,000 grant awarded by Bath-based charity, St John’s Foundation, Coram Beanstalk is set to deliver its impactful reading programme, for free, over the next twelve months.

Primary schools in Bath are being invited to apply now to take up these funded opportunities, along with a call to action for volunteer reading helpers to apply from the local community.

For over 45 years, Coram Beanstalk has been working with schools throughout England to support children on a one-to-one basis with their reading. Thanks to this generous funding from St John’s, Coram Beanstalk will now be working with schools in Bath for the very first time. Volunteers will be trained and matched to schools where they will support children aged 5 to 11 through weekly sessions to read well - not just through recognising the words but through the enjoyment of sharing books together, chatting about them and developing a deeper understanding of the content. 

Ginny Lunn, Managing Director of Coram Beanstalk said:

"We are delighted to have received this funding from St John’s Foundation, enabling us to give children in Bath the gift of lifelong reading. Often the children our volunteers work with just need that bit of extra support and encouragement on a regular one-to-one basis that is just not always possible in the classroom. After a year’s support the child’s confidence towards reading and their love of books is often transformed. Whether you are a school looking to have trained reading helpers or a potential volunteer looking to pass on a love of reading, we would love to hear from you.”

Louise Harvey, Director of Funding and Impact from St John’s Foundation said:

“At first glance, Bath is a beautiful city but its wealthy veneer masks a city with its own share of issues and social needs. Did you know that BaNES has the 150th (out of 151 local education authorities) worst academic attainment gap between children living in poverty and those who are more affluent in the whole of the UK?

And while we cannot say that all young children who struggle with their reading are experiencing some form of inequality, it is likely to be a significant proportion. Not being able to read at an age when their young, enquiring minds are at their most receptive, will diminish the opportunity for these children to access and thrive later in the education system. We need to enable them to be ready to learn and we believe the work of Coram Beanstalk is setting them on that journey and are extremely pleased that we have been able to help.”

The charity is now welcoming enquiries from primary schools in Bath, as well as potential volunteers who would like to be matched to schools by Coram Beanstalk. All volunteers will receive training and ongoing support, as well as the opportunity to attend workshops and events to meet with fellow reading helpers. Applicants will require a DBS check which the charity helps coordinate. Schools taking part will receive the service free for the first twelve months.

Volunteer drop-in event – Tuesday 21st January, 12:30-13:30

A drop in afternoon will take place for potential volunteers to find out more on Tuesday 21st January in the Drawing Room at the Roman Baths, BA1 1LZ. Anyone interested in becoming a reading helper is welcome to attend.

Apply for your primary school to have trained reading helpers

Apply to become a reading helper