Adult literacy in Ipswich is set to get a boost as a national initiative arrives in the town at the end of January.
Read Easy UK is a national charitable organisation which trains local groups of volunteers to provide free coaching to help adults build their reading skills, confidence and self-esteem. Read Easy Ipswich is looking for volunteers to provide confidential, one-to-one support for anyone over the age of 18 who can’t read or struggles with reading. They should be able to read fluently and willing to spend time on a regular basis teaching someone else to read.
Anyone interested in finding out more or getting involved with Read Easy Ipswich is invited to a public meeting on Wednesday 31 January. The event, organised by local literary project Let's Talk Reading, will take place at the University of Suffolk Waterfront Building in Ipswich from 4:30pm - 6pm. If you are interested in attending the launch event or getting involved in Read Easy Ipswich, call 07736 579963 or email LTR@suffolklibraries.co.uk
Sessions would usually be in a discreet and convenient place, so Let’s Talk Reading are also looking for any offers of suitable venues.
There is a significant need for this help in Ipswich. 7% of adults in England have serious reading difficulties and as many as 1 in 6 struggle with reading. England’s 16-24 year-olds came 22nd out of 24 developed countries for literacy in an OECD report in 2013.
Adults with reading issues can feel very isolated and find that it adversely affects their social mobility. They often hide their problems and may feel embarrassed to join a class, so one-to-one, confidential volunteer support can be a real lifeline.
John Helleur, co-founder of the Let’s Talk Reading project, said:
“Like all parts of the country, Ipswich has a large number of people who struggle with reading, which makes their lives very difficult and often means that they are unable to find employment. They will normally hide this lack of skill, but we feel that everyone has the ‘Right to Read’.
"Our partnership with Read Easy is one key piece in a set of solutions which we are establishing in Ipswich, and which we hope will eventually enable everyone in the town to read more confidently to help them cope with modern life. With Read Easy we will establish a team of volunteer coaches to work with individual adults each week until they can read. This will be entirely free, and done in confidence somewhere local to the student, where they can feel comfortable learning.
“We are working to set up four main areas for coaching, in SE, NW and SW Ipswich, plus building on the work of our other partner, local charity Got to Read, in the centre of town. If any fluent readers are keen to help with this vital work in the community, please let us know, or come to our public meeting on the 31st January.”
Ginny Williams-Ellis, CEO of Read Easy UK, said: “Read Easy is absolutely delighted to be partnering with Let’s Talk Reading in Ipswich in order to support adults with their reading. We are really impressed by the work already being done. It will be great to see a new Read Easy group being set up as part of it.”
Alison Wheeler, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “Suffolk Libraries are very pleased this initiative is coming to Ipswich and I’m personally especially keen to support anything which helps people to be more confident as readers as it affects so many aspects of everyone’s life.”
Read Easy is already working in 23 other places around the country, including Cambridge.