19th May 2017

A new volunteering programme has been launched in London by the national literacy charity Beanstalk to help transition retirees into their post-work life.

According to a survey commissioned by Beanstalk, those aged 50+ are acutely aware of retirement and the challenges it may pose:

  • 70% of people approaching the end of their working lives say they are worried about retirement.
  • 21% worry about not having enough to do post-retirement.
  • 23% worry about not having opportunities to interact with other people and other ages.

Beanstalk Reading Transition will help ease these worries and provide Londoners aged 50+ with a short-term volunteering opportunity with a real and lasting impact.

According to a survey of Beanstalk volunteer reading helpers:

  • 86% says being a Beanstalk reading helper helps them feel mentally active
  • 60% said they felt more motivated
  • 64% said they felt more a part of the community

With Beanstalk Reading Transition, volunteers will provide one-to-one literacy support to four children, who are preparing for their own transition from primary to secondary education, four times a week for one school term. Together they will read, talk and play educational games to give children the intensive yet fun support they need to succeed.

As Sue Cullen – a current Beanstalk reading helper – says:

  • “After leaving full time work I knew I wanted to do something completely different, that would engage my brain and be fun at the same time. I heard about Beanstalk and with a lifelong love of reading, becoming a reading helper seemed like the ideal fit. You simply cannot overestimate the benefits of the one-to-one attention the children get in our reading sessions, and it’s thrilling to see their progress. In fact one child I supported would never read aloud in class, but after some time working together there was a complete transformation and she was very happy to read when asked, and did so confidently and without hesitation.”

Beanstalk Reading Transition is a win-win situation for all involved – it will help those aged 50+ ease into retirement, and it will also provide young children with the literacy skills and confidence to start secondary school all set to succeed.

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. Beanstalk Reading Transition is a new programme initially launched in London – made possible by Nesta’s and the Office for Civil Society’s Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund – to establish best practice in retaining the skills and experience of those aged 50+ for community-wide benefits.

To become a Beanstalk Reading Transition volunteer please visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/reading-transition or call 020 7729 4087.

Notes to editors

  • For further information or to arrange an interview with a Beanstalk spokesperson, please contact Tom Rippon on [email protected] or call 020 7729 4087
  • 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.
  • With Beanstalk Reading Transition, volunteers will provide one-to-one literacy support to four children four times a week for one school term, with each child receiving 30 minutes of one-to-one support per day.
  • Beanstalk Reading Transition is being initially launched in London to establish best practice in retaining the skills and experience of those aged 50+ for community-wide benefits.
  • 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.
  • In the last academic year Beanstalk supported over 11,000 children in over 1,400 schools through approximately 3,000 trained reading helpers.
  • Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England in the North, Midlands, Somerset, Greater London and South East England.
  • Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President.
  • The survey was conducted by Censuswide (polling 1,021 people) on behalf of Beanstalk between 27/07/2016 and 1/8/2016