The National Literacy Trust’s Read North East campaign is looking for dedicated members of the community to become Literacy Champions and support the literacy skills of the people around you.

Read North East Literacy Champions are volunteers who want to make a difference in their local area by delivering a variety of literacy-focused events and activities, with a focus on engaging with families with children aged 0-5. The project aims to tackle the literacy challenges in the North East at a community level by empowering local people to improve the literacy of those around them.

Read North East is looking to recruit a team of Literacy Champions who will receive training and resources to lead and deliver early years-focused projects across the region. These could be reading groups, literacy-based outings, or competitions. Each will inspire their peers to read, write, talk, and improve literacy outcomes for local children and families.

The North East region is home to some of the most vulnerable constituencies in England with serious literacy problems. Recent data analysis by the National Literacy Trust and Experian found that 60% of wards in the North East have significant literacy need, and the region is second most at risk of literacy problems in the country.

School attainment data shows that in 2017, 43% of disadvantaged pupils in the North East could not read at the expected level at the end of primary school, compared with just 22% of their more advantaged peers.

Read North East is a creative campaign from the North East Literacy Forum, led by the National Literacy Trust and supported by Penguin Random House UK, the Education Endowment Foundation and Greggs PLC. Established in 2017, the campaign’s key focus is encouraging parents of early years children to change their literacy behaviours.

The Literacy Champions project has already proved successful in several National Literacy Trust Hubs across the country; including Bradford, Nottingham, Hastings and the North Yorkshire Coast. The Bradford Stories campaign has recruited more than 50 volunteers in the last two years, from secondary school pupils who help younger children to read and a dads’ group from a local cricket club, reaching more than 750 children.

James Kingett, Programme Manager for the North East, said:

“The North East is full of people willing to do anything to improve the lives of their children and the next generation. That’s why we’re calling on them to support their community and encourage people to share stories together. Anyone can be a Literacy Champion – whether you’re a parent, business professional, teacher, student, sports coach or just passionate about making a difference in your local area. We want to hear from you!”

If you are interested in becoming a Literacy Champion or learning more about Read North East, please visit readnortheast.org.uk or email James on james.kingett@literacytrust.org.uk.

The Read North East team will also be at the following university events to meet with students who are wishing to enhance their CVs:

  • Northumbria University – Freshers’ Fair, 24 September
  • Newcastle University – Part-time Jobs & Volunteering Fair, 8th October
  • Sunderland University – Graduate Jobs & Placements Fair, 8 November