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Taking Big Steps With The Literacy Volunteers

Carol Williams
Fri 14 Dec, 2018

Literacy Volunteers are a fantastic charity making a real difference in schools, yet funding is always an issue. Our own volunteer Carol Williams recalls a recent fundraiser, and suggests how you can help them bring the gift of reading to all.

An unexpectedly sunny Sunday this autumn saw 28 people and 6 dogs taking a walk around Linby and Newstead Abbey in support of the Literacy Volunteers.

The Literacy Volunteers is a Nottinghamshire charity that trains volunteers and places them in schools around the city and county to support children with literacy – each volunteer spends half a day in their school each week, usually working one to one with 4 or 5 children, helping them read, and promoting the enjoyment of books, reading and communication skills.

We were led on our walk by Bill Bottomley, and the route is actually a section of Bill’s Literary Trail, a book published by the Bookcase in Lowdham. The guide describes a 20 mile route around Nottingham and out into the countryside, with literary points of interest, as well as a booklist of fiction set in the county. Luckily today we were doing just a 6 mile section, starting from the pretty village of Linby, which took us along some lovely green lanes, full of bright red rose hips and purple sloes. The weather forecast, which a few days previously had predicted heavy rain and dismal walking conditions, happily turned out to be wrong, and the sun shone on us.

We entered Newstead Abbey grounds by the “back” gate, passed by the lake, and found ourselves at the Abbey itself, famous of course for its poetic owner, Lord Byron. After a welcome coffee stop, with delicious home made cake (always a winner!) from Dawn and Karen of the LV, we were given a potted history, with Byronic references, by David, a heritage guide at the Abbey. David was well informed and made our visit particularly interesting and “literary”. By chance, it was also a WW2 Wartime Weekend at Newstead, so we were surprised to see 1940s soldiers buying cake at the tea room, and David our guide was dressed very smartly as a wartime civilian.

The return route took us through woods, via Papplewick, back to Linby, where we had a welcome drink at the pub to recover and congratulate ourselves on our trip.

Many of the walkers were volunteers themselves, and we also had some of the trustees of the Literacy Volunteers, as well as those just wanting to support the charity. This was a sponsored walk, which raised around £1,100, money which will allow more volunteers to be trained and placed in schools, and supported there with resources and advice. It costs £350 per year to put a volunteer into a school, while £100 will pay for vetting 5 volunteers and getting them started in schools – 20 children will benefit from this.

I am sure you will agree that these funds are money well spent in supporting schools and children, and promoting literacy in the city and county.

If you would like to make a donation to the Literacy Volunteers, please visit https://localgiving.org/charity/literacyvolunteers.

New volunteers are always needed, so if you are interested in finding out more, visit http://www.literacyvolunteers.org.uk


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