As my job was remote and I therefore had little face-to-face interaction with my colleagues, I was looking for something to do outside work that got me a bit more human interaction. Ideally with people living in the area so that I got to feel a bit more part of a community here in London.
I’ve got a background in education and have, in a distant past, taught adult literacy in my home country of the Netherlands, so Read Easy seemed like a perfect fit for me. Unfortunately, soon after I came on board, the Coronavirus hit the British shores and we went into lockdown, so my experience with Read Easy Hackney might not have been a typical one, as I’ve only known the remote way of working so far!
The Coordinator is first point of contact for adults wanting to learn to read. I am responsible for matching the reader with a suitable volunteer Reading Coach and then providing them with ongoing support. It has been a great way to get to know the local community. While it has all had to be over the phone or video calling, I do speak to a diverse group of people living and working in our Borough every week, as our readers and our volunteers come from all walks of life. The only thing that binds them all is a passion for learning to read.
It’s been an absolute joy during this rather difficult year to see how our readers and coaches have been determined to keep in contact and, in most cases, keep reading. While the pandemic and the restrictions have put many obstacles in the way, people have found very creative solutions and it has been inspiring to be part of the team that helped all these reading pairs keep going this past year. We even managed to train a new tranche of coaches and introduce them to readers – all on-line!
The Coordinating role can be a demanding one. While the time needed varies a lot, it can take several days a week during busy times. However, it has never felt overwhelming as the team at Read Easy Hackney has offered so much support; having a dedicated management team with each member having a clear and specific role has made it so much easier to ask for help from someone when needed.
What has kept me going above all is seeing new Readers grow in confidence and ability as they move through the programme. The joy and enthusiasm the Readers show after they get over their initial nerves has been a light of joy during the dark pandemic!
"It has been a great way to get to know the local community. I speak to a diverse group of people living and working in our Borough every week."Florent - Coordinator, Read Easy Hackney