Lit­er­acy char­ity a real life-changer

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others - By Natalie Tip­ping

A char­ity that has been sup­port­ing peo­ple across Kent through lit­er­acy prob­lems for 43 years is cel­e­brat­ing its 25th year in the Gar­den of Eng­land.

Beanstalk Kent and Med­way re­cruited its first volunteers in 1992, fol­low­ing suc­cess in Lon­don, where it had been founded by Su­san Bel­grave.

She launched the ini­tia­tive to help chil­dren work through lit­er­acy is­sues to pre­vent them be­ing lim­ited in later life.

The char­ity re­cruits, trains and places volunteers in pri- mary schools, where they work as read­ing helpers and pro­vide one-to-one sup­port to chil­dren.

In Kent alone, the char­ity is made up of a net­work of more than 350 helpers and sup­ports more than 1,000 chil­dren.

Reach­ing the 25-year mile­stone doesn’t mean the or­gan­i­sa­tion is slow­ing down, how­ever. The county team is look­ing to fur­ther in­crease its reach in the com­ing years, and is set­ting its sights on neigh­bour­ing ar­eas in East Sus­sex as well.

Area man­ager Malou Bengts­son-Wheeler said: “As we take the next steps on our jour­ney, we are call­ing for more volunteers to come for­ward and join us, so that ev­ery child leaves school with the read­ing abil­ity and con­fi­dence they need to suc­ceed in life.”

Plans for the next few months in­clude sup­port­ing chal­lenges or­gan­ised by the KM Char­ity Team, in­clud­ing the colour run at Bette­shanger Park near Deal, and the char­ity walk on Sun­day June 25, dur­ing which fundrais­ers will take on a 10-mile route con­nect­ing Maid­stone’s Mote House with Leeds Cas­tle.

The char­ity will also be tak­ing part in Chid­ding­stone Cas­tle’s Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, on the May Day bank hol­i­day week­end.

To get in­volved with Beanstalk or to find out more, call 01622 662026 or visit www.beanstalk char­

Beanstalk volunteers cel­e­brate the char­ity’s 25th an­niver­sary. Colin Bus­ton is one of those giv­ing up their time to help young read­ers

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