February 2015 Newsletter

Categories: News

Dear all,
Welcome to our first newsletter of this calendar year and a big welcome to all our new Volunteers, 40 at the last count. We hope you will enjoy a long, rewarding relationship with ABC To Read.

It was good to meet some of you at the recent Book Exchange at Wokingham Library. I understand from our Field workers that they have been trialling new venues to maximise attendance, as we are aware some locations we’ve used in the past have not been easy to get to for all of you. Please do keep us informed if you continue to experience difficulties in this area as Book exchanges are also a great opportunity for social interaction with oth-er volunteers.
I know that the Trustees were delighted with the feedback we received from schools, thanks to your efforts in getting your schools to complete satisfaction surveys. Marcia will be providing further detail.

I look forward to meeting more of you throughout the year. Please know that the Trustees and I are always available should you want to discuss anything with us relating to the Charity’s services.
Noreen Sumra—Chair of Trustees

News from our Chief Officer, Marcia:
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It was lovely to see so many of you at the Christmas Coffee morning and we hope you enjoyed the morning. We are planning to run some additional workshops this year and will advise you in due course of the locations and dates. The aim of the workshops will have the same format as those of last year but based around game playing and open-ended questions. If you would like to take part in helping with the workshops by leading the discussions and sharing your ideas then please let the office or your fieldworkers know. We hope to receive some funding so that we have plenty of new games available at the workshops.

A number of you have been visiting each other in schools to share what works well for you and the children that you are supporting and the feedback that we have received has been positive. Please feel free to exchange ide-as amongst each other. Please also remember to refer to your volunteer handbooks for other ideas on games and tips.
One of our volunteers, James, has shared a website with us where there are some wonderful free printables that you can use with children www.eslgamesplus.com. There is also a good site for word searches which you can print from at www.teachers-direct.co.uk

We are currently preparing certificates for volunteers to give to the children once you have finished the time spent with them. It is important to talk about all the time spent together and record positives on a certificate that a child can keep. Once they are ready we will be distributing them to you to use with your children at the end of their time with you.

We would like to remind you that it is vital we encourage as many of you to attend the school’s own refresher trainings especially those of you that have not had safeguarding training for some time. We need you to accept any invitations from the school relating to safeguarding so that we are adhering to safeguarding laws.

We are fortunate to have an excellent funding team however if you would like to help out the charity in spotting further funding opportunities such as completing token drop leaflets in supermarkets; or live in a parish that supports their community and local charities; or know of and any local magazines where articles can be written about our successes and volunteer opportunity, then again please let us know.

We will be holding our new volunteer training 30th and 31st March at Reading College. Please advise us if you would like to come along to the college and share your experience with the potential new volunteers for 5 minutes.

We have booked a stand at Reading Recruitment Fair, Reading Town Hall on 19 March; if you would like to take part and speak with potential applicants then please advise a time that would suit you to assist on the day. The event will take place from 11am-7pm. Thank you to those of you that have assisted with the recruitment fair in Newbury, and speaking at our new volunteer trainings. We appreciate the help that you give to us in order to try and assist more children across the county.

We hope that you will have now received some of the comments from the evaluations that we carried out last year, it is evident that you are all doing a great job with the children that you are supporting.

If you have an opportunity to share with your contacts at school then please advise them that we are able to support the schools further in training their own parent helpers as well as show their parents how to support their children at home. Our trainings can be adapted to support the community overall and we would welcome the opportunity to run more of our workshops. Leaflets are available at the office.

Paul, our trustee, has an exciting opportunity to run the Parent Helper course to TAs from a local school at Wokefield Park and not only will this be a great success for the school but we are hoping that the course will then become known amongst other head teachers and bring more interest. We will also be running the course to 6th form students at Bradfield College to enable them to take part in a project helping local children to read.

You may recall in our last newsletter that The National Citizenship Service (NCS) programme has bought togeth-er 3 groups of enthusiastic young people (16-17 years old) to work on social action projects of their choice. We were presented with 10 Kindles and they are now ready to use. Please advise your fieldworker if you are a con-fident Kindle user and would like to use one within the school that you work.

We wish Julie Cohen, our patron and Josh from Reading Writers all our best in the Reading Half Marathon, if you would like to sponsor them with all donations coming to ABC to read, then you can do via https://www.justgiving.com/abcread/ or https://www.justgiving.com/Julie-Cohen/.

As a reminder, our volunteer Ann Carey and her young daughter, Lottie, are to do a sponsored walk and cycle from Reading to Mawgan Porth in Cornwall as well as other fundraising activities. Lottie has selected us as a charity to fundraise for along with C.A.R.I.A.D, a charity that is trying to prevent puppy farming. Please help Lottie get a head start with her fundraising at https://localgiving.com/fundraising/lottysamazingadventure
We are still collecting printer cartridges and jewellery for recycling and envelopes are available at the office
If any of you have had a bit of a clear out after Christmas and may have some unwanted children’s games hang-ing around and they are in good condition then we have an empty box to fill!

Communications: Please remember that we have a Facebook page with fresh content and information, as well as twitter. We would welcome more followers! We also have a chat forum on our website where you can share ideas amongst others in the charity. These can all be found at: www.abctoread.org.uk; https://www.facebook.com/abctoread; https://twitter.com/abctoread

The forum is private and open only to registered volunteers. I will need to let Iain, our web designer from IGM Computers, know everyone’s full name and email address so he can assign a password to each account but he will set it up so that you will have to change it to something else once you’ve logged in. We are in the process of updating the website to help with meeting our objectives this year and will be putting some infor-mation links onto it too which will help you with your roles further.

  • We would like to welcome our new volunteers: Margaret McGraw, Kieran Smith, Rita Atkins, Maureen Avery, Emma Fitt. We are sad to say goodbye to Emma Mirams
  • Once again, thank you all for your support and dedication in ABC to read’s achievement and I look forward to another successful year with the staff and Board.
    Marcia—Chief Officer


  • New Volunteer Training— Reading College, 30th & 31st March
  • Reading Volunteer Fair—19th March<
    Please advise if you are able to help out at any of the events.
  • Office closure
    •  February Half term: Thursday 12th February—Monday 23rd February
    • Easter break: Thursday 2nd April—Tuesday 21st April

Nb We will let you know the dates for book exchanges in our next newsletter. We now hold several in different locations across the region on various days, in the hope that all of you have the opportunity to attend one.