News and views News Southern Water pledges £10,000 to help support our reading schemes in Kent 11 October 2017 A NEW CHAPTER FOR CHILDREN AND VOLUNTEERS Southern Water has teamed up with national literacy charity Beanstalk to support Kent children with their reading. The ability to read has a huge impact on confidence and affects future life choices. The money will fund a year-long project to support the ‘Read and Achieve’ scheme in Kent, helping 1,500 children who are struggling with their reading. The grant will also fund the training of volunteers, including Southern Water employees, through workshops to help them develop the skills to read effectively to children. Beanstalk recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. In Kent, Beanstalk currently has approximately 340 volunteers who work with over 1000 children. According to the latest SATs results, more than 4,300 primary school leavers in Kent did not reach the expected standard in reading. Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler, Area Manager for Beanstalk South East said: “We are incredibly grateful to Southern Water and their employees who have elected us as their charity partner for Kent. We greatly look forward to working with them over the coming twelve months, delivering life changing one-to-one literacy support to children across Kent, helping to improve confidence and attitudes to reading.” Beverley Thompson, Community Campaigns and Engagement Manager for Southern Water added: “We are delighted to help support Beanstalk’s fantastic work which helps and support children’s reading. "We’re so grateful to Beanstalk for offering employees training on how to read effectively to children, as part of the Reach and Achieve scheme and we’re really looking forward to being a part of the project.” As well as helping fund the ‘Read and Achieve’ project, employees will also be taking part in a special scheme called ‘A special place to read’ and hope to invite children to selected Southern Water sites for special story telling.