McCarthy & Stone announces Beanstalk as 2019 charity partner to help tackle literacy crisis across UK 31 January 2019 McCarthy & Stone – the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder – has chosen national reading charity Beanstalk as its charity partner of the year for 2019 to help improve the outcomes for children who struggle with reading while promoting the wellbeing benefits of intergenerational volunteering. The partnership will aim to raise at least £100,000 during the year to help support Beanstalk’s vital reading support programmes and will actively seek to engage McCarthy & Stone homeowners and staff from across the UK in volunteering to directly support disadvantaged children in their local communities. Beanstalk is a national children’s reading charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one support to children aged 3 – 13 years old who have fallen behind with their reading levels and confidence. One in four children across the UK leave primary school without the skills to read, whilst 5.1 million adults are functionally illiterate. The support Beanstalk volunteers provide significantly improves the outcomes for children across the UK by transforming reading abilities, enjoyment and confidence. Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk CEO, says: “Volunteering opportunities which embrace intergenerational interaction can bring an incredible amount of joy and value to local communities which is why this partnership with McCarthy & Stone is such an exciting one and will help forge links between Beanstalk volunteer roles and more local communities. A large proportion of our volunteers join us after retiring and having this opportunity to go ‘back to school’, acquire new skills and become part of the school community again can be a really magical and unique experience, so we are really looking forward to working together with McCarthy and Stone in 2019.” Volunteering has been proven to have a positive impact on overcoming loneliness and isolation by helping people feel a part of their community and it has become a key focus for the government and its ‘Loneliness Strategy’ launched in October last year. In Beanstalk’s latest volunteer survey, 70 per cent of reading helpers said it made them feel more connected to their local community. John Tonkiss, McCarthy & Stone’s CEO said, ‘’At McCarthy & Stone, we create retirement communities that enrich the quality of life of our customers and their families, and at the heart of every community is the local school. So, I am delighted that in support of our new vision and purpose, Beanstalk has agreed to be our charity partner for 2019. It is great to be able to support Beanstalk and all the wonderful work they do, and I hope this partnership will not only raise some much-needed funds, but also make a real difference to children’s lives and help to inspire the next generation of readers.’’ A special launch event was held at Poole Primary School in London on Wednesday 30th January to officially announce the partnership and its aims. Beanstalk supporter Jon Snow was at the event talking about the importance of intergenerational volunteering. He explained to the children of Poole’s Park Primary School and attendees at the launch that even though he didn’t achieve good exam results at school, it was his reading that got him through. Beanstalk supporter, Jon Snow: “Reading is the most important thing in your whole life, if you can read well, you’ll go a long way.” In 2017-2018 approximately 3,700 Beanstalk reading helpers supported approximately 13,400 children with their reading. In the next year the charity aims to have reached 15,600 children through the help of 5,000 reading helpers. If you would like to enquire about becoming a reading helper with Beanstalk and helping transform lives through the magic of sharing books together, please visit our volunteering pages.