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Inspiring the Next Generation


Since hearing about Beanstalk and their incredible work raising essential funds to improve the outcomes for children who struggle with reading across the UK, McCarthy & Stone’s Chief Information Officer, Tracey McDermott, has become a Beanstalk reading helper.

Tracey's Story

Volunteering at a school in Bournemouth which is a centre of excellence for children with special educational needs and disabilities, she has found her experience enormously rewarding and has since started a blog to inspire more staff and homeowners to get involved in McCarthy & Stone’s bid to make a lasting difference to children’s lives.

With three boys at home, she never realised just how much she would personally gain from helping a child who struggles with reading, which is such an important life skill.

Here is a short extract from Tracey’s blog where she talks about her experience reading with a little girl in Year 6.

“I sat down with one of the class teachers to discuss the many children who need support with reading. It took me about two seconds to realise that I wanted to help them all and what a difficult task it was going to be to select just one. We worked through their needs and where they are on their learning journey and finally I settled on a little girl in Year 6, we will call her JC.

JC’s reaction when she was asked if she would like to read with me was incredible. She was beside herself with excitement, and the mix of emotions that flitted across her face was enough to bring me to tears! She was hopping around on her toes, twisting her school uniform belt, talking to me about insects and ladybirds with a mix of shyness and gushing energy that she couldn’t stand still. Her joy at being chosen wasn’t something I had expected and made me realise that whilst I assumed all I am giving is my time, what JC is receiving is huge.

This was really humbling and sometimes we all need a little reminder to put life into perspective.”

Story Reader's Day

Staff   from  Head Office, Matt Plain, Fiona Leigh and Louise Daley were delighted to attend Beanstalk’s Story Readers Day to meet some of the children who the charity help every day.

Fiona says: “It was a fantastic experience. We spent the morning looking at some books, reading through them and getting tips from Hannah at Beanstalk on how to really engage children in the stories. Matt and I found we both have a particular knack for explosion noises and Louise’s performing arts experience shone through as she got fully into character in some books! We’re all now well read in Funnybones, Shark in the Park and Pom Pom the Bear amongst other literary classics...!

After a lunch break, we ventured to a local nursery where we spent an hour reading to the children. They were such a welcoming bunch and surrounded us demanding to know who we were and why we were there, and then settled down with us to read through plenty of books we had brought along. The hour flew by as the children asked questions and got involved. This was particularly lovely as they were having an outside day, but despite distractions of outside games, bugs and running about, many still chose to sit and enjoy some new books with us.”

Start a New Chapter

Our charity partnership with Beanstalk is more than just raising funds but helping to grow their volunteer base so they can deliver their promise of helping struggling children to reach their true potential by providing one-to-one reading support.

Last year thousands of children left primary school in England unable to read to the expected level. This can have severe consequences on their future, causing them to fall behind with their schoolwork, have low self- esteem and have limited job prospects. We need your help to change this by becoming a Beanstalk reading helper, spending time reading, talking and making books fun, transforming their reading ability, confidence and experience.

“More volunteers are desperately needed – you could be a reading helper to one of the other children in JC’s  class that I desperately want to help but can’t. Take a look at all the amazing information and resources on the Beanstalk pages of their website. Get inspired and get in touch. You really will make a difference.” Tracey McDermott, McCarthy & Stone Beanstalk Volunteer.

Why Volunteer for Beanstalk

By volunteering with Beanstalk you can start a new chapter in your own life as well as changing the life of a child.

  • 93% of our volunteers would recommend it to a friend
  • 92% of our volunteers think that it makes them feel valued
  • 88% of our volunteers say it makes them feel mentally active
  • 88% of schools say that we improve the reading ability of their pupils
  • 98% of schools say that we improve their pupils’ reading confidence
  • 98% of schools say that we improve their pupils’ enjoyment of reading

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