Read Easy Winchester
Celebratory event – June 2018
Read Easy Winchester celebrated the achievements of fourteen of its newest readers on Monday 18 June at St Peter’s Pastoral Centre.
Each received a certificate from Barbara Large MBE, Chair of the Hampshire Writers’ Society and patron of the local Read Easy group.
Pat Stephens, the group’s coordinator, said:
‘It was an inspirational evening, with everyone in a celebratory mood. Our newest readers come from diverse backgrounds, including Africa, India, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as England. All, for whatever reason, left school without being about to read.’
Read Easy Winchester has coached 32 adults in reading skills since it was set up in October 2015. Each reader is paired with a trained volunteer who mentors them throughout. Readers learn at their own pace and, typically, it takes between six and 18 months to become a proficient reader.
The effects are often life-changing. As one new reader said during Monday’s celebrations: ‘For the first time in my life, I feel equal to everyone else’.
Ginny Williams-Ellis, CEO and founder of Read Easy, presented a special award to Steve Scovell, one of the Winchester group’s first learners. Since mastering reading, Steve has been a proactive ambassador for the charity, being interviewed on Radio Solent and speaking to groups about his experience.
Before the closing speech by the group’s Chair, Alan Stephens, there was a cheque presentation by Ruth Kirkby from Tesco’s Bags of Help Community Scheme. This raised £2,000 to support the group’s work, a fantastic achievement.