Read Easy Blandford
The Read Easy Blandford project received a Safer Dorset Fund grant of £990 with the intent to help teach ex-offenders who live in and around Blandford how to read
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Read Easy provided free one-to-one coaching sessions to help ex-offenders learn to read, therefore reducing the impact of the vicious cycle of illiteracy, unemployment and criminality which is well recognised by Dorset Police.
Referrals mainly came via the Probation Service , although members of the community who wer considered at a high risk of offending due to illiteracy or poor reading skills could also be referred via agencies and the Police.
The course opened up opportunities to ex-offenders by vastly increasing their chances of employment. Learning to read builds confidence and self-esteem and allows people at risk to access information such as benefits and welfare advice.
Below is a photo of Paul, who received his certificate from Ann Fookes the chair of Read Easy Blandford. Paul has always struggled with his reading but with the patient help of his coach, Annabelle, he has managed to complete the main part of the Read Easy course. He did this in record time (under 4 months). With Annabelle's help Paul is continuing to improve his reading and comprehension.
Paul is one of 15 new readers who have been coached by Read Easy in 2015, 7 have graduated but continue to be coached as are the rest, with the exception of one who sadly died and another who is keen to restart.
John Paterson from Read Easy told us: "All of our new readers have benefitted from the help and support afforded by the grant from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset in the provision of the main manual we use (which costs around £35 a copy) and supporting material and in helping us afford to recruit and train our dedicated reading coaches.
The vast majority of our readers have faced a range of disadvantages in their lives, some but not all, associated with their inability to read. 10 had Gypsy, Romany, or Traveller. backgrounds. 2 had criminal records. One had English as a foreign language with 6 possibly having learning difficulties.
We have been able to make a positive difference to their lives because of the financial help we have received from the OPCC and our other generous funders."
Paul added "Read Easy has been a good experience. Annabelle has helped me in lots of different ways".
Find out more about Read Easy Blandford and the work they do.