Our support team Michelle Searle - Support team manager Hi I’m Michelle I joined Coram Beanstalk permanently in January 2017 following a brief spell of employment here in 2015. My background is mostly in Business Development in the Building Society/Banking sector, where I quickly realised how much I loved working with people. Moving to Coram Beanstalk, was a great move for me as I wanted to give something back - the idea of helping vulnerable children really appealed to me, as did that of working with volunteers. As someone who didn’t engage with reading particularly as a child, I completely and passionately understand the importance of reading and how 'reading for pleasure' is the key to supporting those children we work with to become readers. Personally I would have loved a Beanstalk reader and I am passionate about reaching as many children as we are able, to help transform their lives. Lucki Bring - Support representative Hi my name is Lucki. I have worked for Coram Beanstalk since December 2019. During that time I have connected with many schools and reading helpers and love hearing how they and their readers are getting on. I have loved connecting with reading helpers on coffee mornings and online-training, signposting them to our volunteer portal and supporting them on their journey. Our reading helpers really understand and support 'reading for pleasure' and building confidence in their readers to enjoy and share stories, books and book chat. Our schools really appreciate what they do - our reading helpers really become part of the school community. I love that our reading helpers give up their valuable time to do something great - helping children explore books, gain confidence and have fun. Lucy Church - Support representative My name is Lucy and I have been working at Coram Beanstalk for nearly 7 years. I previously worked in advertising for many years, however, having children changed my focus. My 5 year old son at the time was struggling with reading when I took up the position at Beanstalk. Therefore, I was able to relate to the difficulties children have in reading. It gives me such pleasure to find out from our volunteers and schools the incredible impact these sessions have with their children; how they blossom and develop their self-assurance to participate in class and to start actively select books and find pleasure from them. Catherine Gorman - Support representative Hi, I’m Catherine and I’ve worked with Coram Beanstalk since March 2019. During that time I’ve been able to meet many wonderful reading helpers and hear all about the amazing work they do! I love being a part of the wider Coram Beanstalk and Coram community, whether it is Tea & Talk, attending screenings and events, the tour of the Foundling Museum or taking part in training and development. I love the fact that our volunteers give children the space to read what they want and how they want to! Deborah Hallett - Support representative Hi, my name is Deborah Hallatt. I have worked with Coram Beanstalk since September 2015 and during this time I have helped over one hundred schools and three hundred reading helpers become part of the Coram Beanstalk family. Having been a parent reading helper at my sons’ school I became so enthused by the difference reading daily with children can make to their general learning and overall well-being, I joined Coram Beanstalk. I am inspired with what our charity achieves and the positive influence it has in the bedrock of children’s education – the remarkable efforts of our outstanding Reading Helpers makes me feel as though I add value to young people’s lives every day. For me, it is more than words on a page, it is developing the emotional connection our children have to books and how it can help shape their future. Sara Jackson - Support representative Hi my name is Sara and I’ve worked with Coram Beanstalk since March 2019. During that time I’ve supported lots of reading helpers and schools in Yorkshire and Humberside, plus helped out in other areas across England. I have two little girls myself aged 2 and 4 so have a real love of reading children’s books. Julia Donaldson and Enid Blyton are big favourites - we love a good trip up the Magic Faraway Tree! Gillian Sherwood - Support representative Hi my name is Gillian. I’ve worked with Coram Beanstalk since January 2020. During that time (and despite lockdown!) I’ve spoken to lots of volunteers and schools across the country, been really inspired by the incredible work of our volunteers and seen for myself how encouraging Reading for Pleasure can bring a world of joy and excitement to people, young and old. Michelle Whittaker - Support representative Hi, my name is Michelle Whittaker and I have worked for Coram Beanstalk for just over five years. During that time, I have supported many schools and volunteers across the Birmingham, Black Country, Worcestershire and Shropshire area. As a previous parent reading helper and a Teaching and Support Assistant, our charity's commitment to helping children to appreciate the value of books/stories, develop their literacy skills and, spark their imagination, is something that I am truly passionate about. My day to day role, working alongside our great school partners and dedicated volunteers, makes my role both enjoyable and rewarding.