Read Easy Birmingham SE & Solihull

To learn to read, contact Deborah Chard

Tel: 07504 286290

Email: deborah@readeasy.org.uk

To volunteer, contact Lynn Wilson

Email: birminghamserecruiter@readeasy.org.uk

For Moving Ahead, contact Sally Thornborrow

Email: sally@readeasy.org.uk

About our group:

We need to continue to grow our Management Team in order to meet increasing demand within our area. Our current Management Team members bring enthusiasm and life experience to their roles, in addition to a variety of professional and working backgrounds. Work is flexible and can usually be tailored to one’s availability and skills.

All we ask for is a willingness to work as part of a team, and a desire to help in our wonderfully rewarding work.  We are currently seeking to appoint a Vice- Chair, a Publicity Organiser, an IT Manager and possibly another support Coordinator. If you are interested in being part of our work and organisation, please email our Chair and Volunteer Recruiter Lynn Wilson email:  birminghamserecruiter@readeasy.org.uk

Our team of Coaches operate within Solihull, Olton, Hall Green, Shirley,Knowle, Dickens Heath, Balsall Common, South Yardley and Chelmsley Wood. Coaches and Readers need to be able to travel to one of these areas, where we typically hold reading sessions in a local library or local venue.

We are very grateful to our team of Volunteer Coaches who help us in this rewarding work, which has seen readers grow in confidence, find employment, and overcome many of life’s challenges.

If you know anyone who needs support in learning to read, or to improve their reading, please get in touch with our main Coordinator Deborah: telephone 07504 286290 or email: deborah@readeasy.org.uk

Deborah joined us in July 2017, she does an excellent job of leading and supporting our coaches with their readers. She works very hard and is the key to the success of our group, as a Co-ordinator, she is not a member of the Management Team. She keeps us regularly informed about the work of the  coaches and readers so that the group can run smoothly and effectively.

Background

Our group was originally established at Christmas 2016 and we have been meeting the needs of many adult non-readers ever since. We provide one-to-one reading lessons using a programme called Turning Pages. We have considerable demand for support, with readers from all walks of life, and we are regularly contacted by local charities and support services for help.

We have had a steady stream of readers either self-referring or via friends, family and agencies. We currently have 28 Readers enrolled and paired with their coaches, with more awaiting pairing or assessment. Last year we appointed our Support Coordinator, Sally Thornborrow, to help Debbie with the monitoring of Coaches and Readers. This enabled us to take on more Readers and Coaches and continue to grow as a group. However, to be fair to our team of Volunteers and our Readers, and to allow Debbie and Sally to continue to provide the necessary support and maintain the effectiveness of the group, we no longer have the capacity to take on more Coaches at present. We “never say never” though, so if you are happy to be placed on a waiting list please contact Debbie: deborah@readeasy.org.uk

Later this year some of our more experienced Coaches will train so we can  introduce Moving Ahead. This is a more concise second stage reading programme for Readers who feel they need further support, once they have completed the initial Turning Pages programme. Sally has been appointed as our Moving Ahead Coordinator from April 2020 which will involve further training and additional responsibilities.

We are all volunteers and have to raise our own funds each year in order to facilitate our work. It costs £126 to take one adult through the reading programme providing the necessary resources.

Our Coaches receive Initial Training and Consolidation Training and are provided with Handbooks and  resources to support their work, another significant cost we have to cover. In addition we hold a local group Coach meetings lead by  our Literacy Specialist and Coordinators and, of course, there are administration costs which have to be met  as well.

We have been very fortunate over the last three years as we have not had anyone taking total responsibility for Fundraising until recently. However, we have been very grateful for  kind donations received  from local and national fundraising organisations which we have managed to acquire by pulling together as a team. We need just over £3000 a year to be able to continue our work and deliver the reading programmes effectively, so we are always appreciative of any donations.

Our Management Team

Team Leader and Volunteer Recruiter

Lynn Wilson worked with the original Pioneer to form the group and manages her Read Easy commitments around several other volunteering activities and family. She is always happy to be contacted by interested volunteers.

Literacy Specialist  and Treasurer

Joyce Matthews originally applied to be a Coach, but took on the roles of Literacy Specialist and Treasurer in order to get the group up and running. She does an excellent job and has many other interests to keep her busy.

Secretary and Administration support for the Coordinator

Viv Taylor was also there at the start of the group. She is retired and enjoys travelling, looking after her grandchildren in addition to effectively  fulfilling her volunteer roles with our Read Easy group.

Venues and Interviews

Digby Rose is retired, and is responsible for arranging venues for Readers and Coaches to meet. He is also a Coach, and is involved in interviewing prospective new coaches. He works very  effectively and  enjoys other volunteer roles and family life.

Coordinator Support and Moving Ahead Coordinator (from April 2020)

Sally Thornborrow is retired and joined the Management Team in October 2018.  She has proved to be an excellent addition to the  team and works extremely well with Debbie. Unfortunately, as she has been appointed as Moving Ahead Coordinator, she can no longer sit on the Management Team but will concentrate on delivering this programme efficiently and successfully.

Fundraiser, Safeguarding and Data Protection

Sue Berridge was appointed  in the autumn of 2019. Initially she agreed to cover Safeguarding and Data Protection but quickly saw the need for someone to take control of Fundraising. She has already had some success this year and we are really grateful to Sue for taking on this responsibility; we know she will do a great job! She still manages to have many other interests which she enjoys.

Literacy Specialist for Moving Ahead

Vron Leslie was appointed to  the Management Team in December 2019. She has already completed some training sessions as Literacy Specialist and has taken on some coaching. She has introduced some new ideas which we have welcomed. Vron will complete her training as Literacy Specialist for Moving Ahead alongside Sally and the Moving Ahead Coaches in March.

Recruitment

Although we have managed to recruit two new Team members last year we have now “lost” Sally and this still leaves us with only six MT members which is small. You will notice several of the Team have more than one role so there is plenty of room for others to provide support or even share or offer to take on one of those roles.

OTHER VACANCIES : Publicity,  IT support and Management,  Vice- Chair and  another support Coordinator.

We have plenty of help from Read Easy UK in carrying out the different responsibilities and all policies, information and training provided are excellent. If you are interested please contact Lynn Wilson our Volunteer Recruiter or look at readeasy.org.uk to find out more about how this great charity operates nationally. Lynn is quite happy to arrange a meeting to explore the roles and what is involved before you make an  application, please do not hesitate to contact her via email:

birminghamserecruiter@readeasy.org.uk