An award for Vicki as pupils benefit from ‘reading buddy’ scheme

An employee at Computershare has been honoured with a special award in recognition of her dedication and efforts in helping local primary school children improve their reading skills.

Vicki has been managing our Computershare Reading Buddy scheme, which sees employees volunteering to visit local primary schools for half an hour each week to listen to pupils reading.

Since becoming the reading buddy coordinator in 2010, Vicki has taken the scheme from strength to strength and has helped to more than triple the number of volunteers taking part.

The reading buddy initiative is part of a series of structured volunteering opportunities run by a charity called Ablaze. Last year over 800 volunteers donated more than 21,000 hours, impacting over 4,500 young people and helping to motivate children to develop an enjoyment of reading independently.

Ablaze has been so impressed by Vicki’s efforts that they have honoured her with a special award, which she received at a recent ceremony attended by charity representatives, volunteers, business leaders and young people from across the region.

“I think the buddy scheme is a fantastic project and I was delighted to get involved with it,” said Vicki. “The feedback from volunteers and the schools is amazing and we hope to grow our bank of volunteers even further this year, so we can help even more pupils with their reading.”

Here are some of the fantastic comments we have received from the schools:

Miss Emma Drew, head teacher at Fairfurlong Primary School, said: “Well done Vicki! We have always been really pleased with the support provided for us by the Computershare volunteers.  Most of the children we select for support are children who are below the correct levels for their age.

“Through the support of Computershare volunteers, the children learn the importance of practising their reading with an adult, get some "special" time with an adult that is about them, and make progress with their reading. Just 30 minutes a week does have a massive impact for the children at our school.”

Mark Lacey, head teacher at Parson Street Primary School, said: “We really value our partnership with Computershare. We are working hard with our whole school community to raise standards of literacy for our children and the fact that a local business like Computershare is willing to work with us in this endeavour is fantastic. We are so pleased to welcome volunteers here every week - they really make a difference!”

Tony Halloran, head teacher at St Pius X Primary School, said: “The contribution of Computershare reading volunteers to our school is invaluable. They help us to support children who would not normally read with an adult who is not a member of school staff. The children have built strong working relationships and friendship with 'their' volunteer (and they really are possessive about volunteers) and they are really appreciative of the time that is given.  Without the volunteers some of our children would not share or build a love of reading. Long may they come forward.”

Well done to Vicki and all our volunteers!