An inspiring Bicester-based charity is calling on businesses and local people to join their team of volunteers and help children improve their reading.
ARCh-Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire, already has 260 volunteers who visit schools every week to support children with their reading, but they need more and have introduced a business volunteers scheme to try and swell their numbers.
Heidi Moss is the volunteer recruitment manager at ARCh. She said: “We have reading volunteers who visit schools twice a week and spend half an hour each with three children who might be struggling with reading, lack language skills or have little confidence. Our volunteers talk with the children, read books together and play games.”
The team at ARCh are constantly fundraising and trying to recruit volunteers because even though they have a team of 260, more are always needed. Heidi added: “I started here as a volunteer when I moved to the area and I loved being able to help children with their reading-it’s an amazing thing to be able to do and so much more than just reading. Our volunteers have fantastic conversations with children and we match our books to the children if they express a particular interest in something as that makes the experience even better.”
ARCh is currently supporting more than 750 children across 100 schools throughout Oxfordshire. Volunteers do not need any specific qualifications, just a love of books and a desire to help children enjoy reading more.
Heidi added: ” It is important that our children have stability and continuity so we do ask volunteers to commit to staying with us for at least one school year, but many of our volunteers have been with us for many years because they enjoy it so much and find it incredibly rewarding. We are now asking local businesses to support us to allow their staff to volunteer for an hour a week-it’s such a great thing to do and really valuable for everyone.”