Read Easy Blackmore Vale North

To learn to read and to volunteer contact our Coordinator Jenny Pope (Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Sherborne & Wincanton)

Tel: 07748 977330


About our group:

The Gillingham & Shaftesbury group started at the end of 2014 with volunteer coaches trained and working with our first few readers by the Spring of 2015.

In the early years the geographical focus was the North Dorset towns of Gillingham and Shaftesbury together with the villages in the SP7 & 8 postcodes. As the group has matured the reach has spread to encompass Marnhull in North Dorset, Wincanton in Somerset, Sherborne in West Dorset and Mere in Wiltshire. Earlier this year the group name changed to Blackmore Vale North to reflect the growth of the area the group now covers.

Group News:

Our events organiser had a good idea back in the pre-Covid days of late winter. She wanted to set up a little plant stall outside her house that would have both vegetable plants and flowers for people to take and give a donation.  Little did she know that lockdown was just around the corner and people would be scrambling to plant veggies in their gardens and window boxes.  Asking people for a donation was a stroke of genius as the plants, regularly replenished by green-fingered friends and management team members made far more for our group than pricing each individually ever could.  The stall ran until mid-May, at which time donations amounted to over £500.00

Some of our reading/coaching pairs have been using distance learning to continue towards their goals, and a number of our readers have graduated during the spring/summer. Covid-19 does not stop people wanting to learn to read and we have welcomed some new learners, as well as potential new coaches.
We are looking forward to being able to present certificates to graduates at a socially-distanced event later in the year.



During this year we have attended many local events big and small to raise awareness of what we do.  A novel idea was to arrange a series of “Read Easy Raconteurs” events – one in each of the main towns we cover – to highlight the simple pleasure of reading a story out loud. The venues of choice were places most people visit – supermarkets!  Each venue had a little set – a rug, chair, table and standard lamp and the raconteurs read stories, poems even letters, taking it in turns throughout a whole day to read their texts and talk to shoppers.  The events were successful in raising a satisfying amount in donations and in the flurry of interest from potential volunteer coaches

One of our early readers has achieved an ambition by having a book she has written about her literacy journey published. Called “My Dyslexic Journey”, it chronicles the author’s struggles with reading through her school years and young adulthood.  Copies are available through Amazon.

Read or download our latest newsletter Newsletter November 2019