A fresh call for book volunteers

The Mayor and Mayor's Consort, Coun Myra Whiteside and Mr John Hurst, at Wigan Town Hall with staff and volunteers from the Beanstalk charity

The Mayor and Mayor's Consort, Coun Myra Whiteside and Mr John Hurst, at Wigan Town Hall with staff and volunteers from the Beanstalk charity

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A CHARITY which helps youngsters struggling to read has been given the mayoral seal of approval at a town hall reception.

Staff and volunteers from Beanstalk, formerly known as Volunteer Reading Help, related their experiences of trying to improve literacy and build confidence in schools across Wigan.

The charity currently has a network of more than 100 volunteers across the region, including 24 in Wigan, who go into schools to listen to children read, talk to them and play games to increase their confidence on a one-to-one basis.

Beanstalk marks four decades of helping youngsters this year hopes to celebrate by reaching a total of 40 volunteers in the borough.

Members attended a Wigan town hall reception to share personal stories, including Philip Baines, who helps at Aspull Church School.

He said: “It’s so rewarding helping children learn to read because it is such an important life skill. It’s also helped me overcome my shyness as well.”

Mayor of Wigan, Coun Myra Whiteside, said: “Volunteering in schools to help improve literacy and communication skills is valuable and rewarding. It appears that most volunteers in Wigan borough are ladies so let’s promote the idea to a wider audience and get more men involved.”

The charity is still looking to recruit more volunteers to work in Wigan schools.

Candidates will need to be able to commit to at least 12 months of volunteering, going into a primary school twice a week with each session lasting around 90 minutes. To find out more or apply to become a volunteer, ring Emma Mitson on 0845 450 0335 or visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk