First YEP volunteer steps into classroom

Get Leeds Reading volunteer Maureen Bacha. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Get Leeds Reading volunteer Maureen Bacha. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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An exciting new chapter was beginning today as the first of our Get Leeds Reading volunteers started in school.

Shadwell mum Maureen Bacha is the first of our YEP readers to complete her training and get to work helping struggling pupils improve their literacy.

And the 62-year-old, who has been matched up with three youngsters from years one and two at Carr Manor Primary School in Meanwood, said she felt “special and proud” to be leading the way.

She added: “There’s a little bit of anxiousness but I’m also excited at the same time. I know I will get a lot of satisfaction from it.”

Bizarrely it was a twist of fate that led her to the role.

“Your newspaper dropped into my letter box by accident. I obviously read it and there was this article and immediately I read it I thought ‘that’s it, that’s exactly what I want to do’.”

Our campaign urges parents and carers to spend at least 10 minutes EVERY day reading with youngsters.

And we are calling on an army of 50 YEP readers to sign up as volunteer reading helpers with our campaign partner, the literacy charity Beanstalk.

A staggering 1,000 pupils left primary schools in Leeds last year without learning to read properly.

But YEP readers who are willing to share their love of books and provide youngsters with invaluable one-to-one support can help give hundreds of Leeds youngsters a brighter future. Maureen, who was head of learning and development in the automotive industry for 30 years before retiring, said: “I thought, I’ve got three children to work with. Even if one of them can learn to read as a result of my help then I have won and so have they.”

She urged other book-lovers to follow her lead and volunteer. No experience is required as training is provided.

To find out more please contact westyorkshire@beanstalkcharity.org.uk; ring 0845 450 0344 or go to www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk.