Read, read and read some more

I read last night in the London Evening Standard that the paper is launching a campaign 'Get London Reading' - to do just that and tackle illiteracy.

Astonishingly, one in three children doesn't own a book and one million working adults aren't able to read. Those are some scary stats, particularly as the UK is one of the top developed nations.

It was especially great to read that one of our partners, Volunteer Reading Help has joined forces with the Evening Standard to run the campaign. They're appealing to volunteers to go into schools and support children who are struggling to read.

I, along with some of my colleagues, have done this kind of volunteering before. We get five days a year to volunteer, so a few of us at TimeBank signed up with Southwark Education Business Alliance to go along to a local school to support some of the children with their reading. It was great to meet the children and feel like you're playing a small part in their development. Also, because we took it in turns to go it really was a very small amout of time out of our days (very do-able, if you don't have much time to spare).

The campaign has been really successful already - with 400 people getting in touch to be a mentor or donating money. Apparently VRH has been inundated with enquiries since yesterday but if you're not living in London, the charity may still need your help. Don't forget though, it might take a little while to get started because of CRBs or training but it will be worth it in the end. As proved by one of VRH's volunteers who left a review on our website:

"I cannot think of any activity that has been more rewarding than my work with Volunteer Reading Help. You spend 90 minutes twice a week working individually with three children at your local school, usually reluctant readers, to help them become more confident in their reading and inspire in them a love of books. To see them grow in confidence and achieve higher levels of reading over the year is a joy. You know that you have made a difference in their lives - sometimes a really big difference. And the children themselves teach you so much in return - with their imagination and enthusiasm. VRH is an incredibly well run organisation and they make everything easy for the volunteer. Make a difference to a child's lifelong chances. Volunteer with VRH."