About us What we do Our history 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 approximately 3,000 trained reading helpers supporting approximately 11,000 children across England. Since we were founded we have helped over 177,000 children learn to read. 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: If you would like to find out how we're adding to our history, then please check out our news section.