North West planning consultancy PWA Planning are supporting a charity who are helping to bridge the literacy skills gap in Preston.Advertisement
Read Easy Preston is a newly formed community-based support group for adults with low literacy who wish to learn how to read.
The group is run by a committee of volunteers from the local area, each bringing with them different skills and life experiences, with the aim of providing free, confidential, one-to-one reading coaching for adults.
It is an affiliated member of the registered charity Read Easy UK, which was formed in 2010 and supports over 40 local groups in England.
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Each group trains volunteers from the community to be reading coaches and then pairs them with an adult who wishes to improve their reading skills.
The Preston group was established in March of this year to help the 25,000 people throughout Preston, Wyre, South Ribble and Chorley who can barely read or cannot read at all.
PWA’s donation has been used to fund the first books needed to kick-start the charity’s Preston-based learn-to-read programme, which comprises two half-an-hour sessions a week with a reading coach.
The structured, phonics-based reading programme is specially designed for adults and can take up to two or more years to complete.
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Stella Walton, director of PWA Planning, said: “Around seven per cent of the Preston, Wyre, South Ribble and Chorley adult community has low literacy, and this has been exacerbated further during the pandemic, so we were happy to extend a hand and support such a worthy cause that will help improve the lives and employment opportunities of so many.”
With the pandemic driving an acceleration in the transition to a digital age, non-readers have been left increasingly isolated as their low literacy proves a real obstacle to digital access.
It costs approximately £145 a year to coach each reader, and £3,500 annually to run the Read Easy Preston group, with the charity relying on donations from local businesses, community funds and the general public to provide its services.
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Proud Preston. This, and many stories like it, show how the people of Preston are making a difference. Our Proud Preston section showcases all the charitable, kind, uplifting and great things about our city and the people who live here. #ProudPreston is alive and well, and there’s much to celebrate and be proud of, despite the challenging times we all face.
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