A new group which aims to support adults who struggle to read is set to be launched in Stoke-on-Trent.
Read Easy UK is an organisation that successfully supports 40 groups in England in giving reading coaching to adults on a one-to-one basis.
And a group is being launched in Stoke-on-Trent – where around 14,000 adults in the city are predicted to have the reading level of aged seven or below.
More than seven per cent of adults in England never learnt to read at school, which equates to around 2.4 million people.
The Stoke group is currently in the pioneer stage, and is networking with organisations, groups, and businesses to see if they will support the initiative once it is officially launched in 2021.
To help drive the group forwards, it requires people to come forward to volunteer to help form a management committee. Roles include secretary, treasurer, fundraiser, literacy officer and more.
Once established, the group then will be appealing for reading coaches who will be trained and paired with a learner, who they will meet twice a week for 30 minutes.
Read Easy Stoke-on-Trent has been formed by Jon Owen, from Newcastle.
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The 34-year-old said: “I came across the work of Read Easy and loved their ethos and what they set out to achieve.
“I wanted to offer my help, and when I saw there wasn’t a group in Stoke-on-Trent, contacted them and asked if they’d be interested in me helping to set one up.
“Luckily, they were, and I’ve been working during the past few months to raise awareness of Read Easy Stoke-on-Trent and get as many people on board with it as possible.
“We’ve been really pleased with the initial response, with many organisations saying they will support us in terms of promotion and referrals once we’re up and running.”
Jon is now calling on people in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas to get in touch to offer their services – or simply their support.
“Reading is something so many of us take for granted,” he said. “I know how much I enjoy reading to my daughter, who is two, and the thought of not being able to do so makes me feel rather sad.
“Being able to read enhances our employment opportunities, makes us feel more included in society and increases our self-esteem and confidence.
“To make it a successful group, we now need volunteers to join us to form a committee to help the group flourish.”
If you are interested in volunteering with Read Easy Stoke – or if you would like more information – you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page.