Beanstalk was founded by our President Susan Belgrave in 1973. We were originally called Volunteer Reading Help (VRH) and became Beanstalk in 2012 in time for our 40th anniversary.

Susan saw a volunteering scheme in action in a Harlem school in New York. Impressed by the results she decided to set up a similar scheme in schools in North Kensington.  

Since then, Beanstalk has gone from strength-to-strength. We have grown from a handful of volunteers to a network of almost 3,100 trained reading helpers supporting approximately 11,000 children across England.

Thanks to our volunteers, Beanstalk is now a respected voice in the children's literacy landscape and is a leading member of campaigns to improve literacy across the UK and Europe.

Here are some of the key moments in our 40+ year history:

Illustration of Beanstalk history        

If you would like to find out how we're adding to our history, then please check out our news section.