Call us now on

0800 201 4811

The Importance of Charity at Christmas 

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore

Author

Lifestyle

At McCarthy & Stone, we value charity work all year round. However, we know that it’s especially important during the festive season; particularly for those who are less fortunate. 

For 2019, we partnered with Coram Beanstalk, a national charity that provides literacy support to children. Last year, roughly 156,000 children left primary school unable to read to the expected level, and Coram Beanstalk’s 100 staff and 3,000 volunteers carry out work across England to try and correct this.

To learn more about Coram Beanstalk and the importance of charity, we spoke with Coram Beanstalk’s Press and Marketing Officer, Kate Rumsby.

An Interview with Kate Rumsby

Could you tell us more about the charitable work of Coram Beanstalk?

At Coram Beanstalk, we recruit, train and support volunteers to provide one-to-one reading support in primary schools and early years settings. Once trained and placed in a school by Coram Beanstalk, our reading helpers support children aged 3-13 through weekly sessions. Over the course of one academic year, they enjoy books with the children and help them develop a deeper understanding of the story. 

Our volunteers encourage, motivate and support children in a way that helps them feel positive about their reading. Our reading helpers work with three children on a one-to-one basis twice a week for one academic year. The children they work with need support for a variety of reasons, but many won’t feel confident around books and would benefit from weekly sessions outside of the classroom with someone who can help ‘open the door’ to reading.

In addition to our volunteer programmes, we also provide training in schools to the parent helper community to maximise the impact they have in their sessions supporting children with reading. We also deliver peer-to-peer training as part of our Reading Leaders programme, which sees older children in secondary schools train to support younger children in the school with reading.

Our vision is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become confident and able readers, and we know that the first step to achieving this is through encouraging a love of books at an early age.

In addition to your existing programs of charity work, will you be carrying out any additional campaigns this Christmas?

Each Christmas we highlight our ‘Give the gift of reading’ appeal, which is a really wonderful way of supporting the work we do. Just £5 can help us buy a brilliant book that our trained reading helpers can use during their one-to-one sessions with a child in a school. We rely on our fundraising efforts to help sustain the work we do and to allow us to grow and reach more children who need one-to-one help with reading. Anyone who wishes to support the work we do can donate online via our website.

“Fundraising is critical to our sustainability and enables us to continue our work”

Throughout the year, we encourage people to volunteer with us. More volunteers mean we can reach more children who need one-to-one reading support across the country. December is typically a quieter month for recruiting new reading helpers, so in January we launch our New Year campaign to encourage people to volunteer who may be looking to take on a new challenge for the year ahead.

In your opinion, just how important are donations and the work of volunteers for the charity sector?

Fundraising is critical to our sustainability and enables us to continue our work and increase the impact we have on children across the country. Without generosity and support from our donors, funders and the time given by our volunteers, so many children would not get the help they need to become confident readers.

We must continue our work if we are to help close the literacy gap and prevent children from falling behind their peers and risking their life chances.

What are the typical long-lasting impacts of the work done by volunteers?

As well as transforming the lives of children, the work our volunteers do can be life-changing for themselves.

Each year, we ask for feedback from our volunteers and in the last survey we carried out, the vast majority of volunteers (92%) agreed that being a reading helper with Coram Beanstalk made them feel valued, while 89% also say that it helped them stay mentally active.

Over two thirds of Coram Beanstalk reading helpers who provided feedback (70%) also said that it made them feel more a part of their local community.  

We know that volunteering can greatly enrich and improve people’s lives in a number of different ways. We see it all the way through the volunteer journey with Coram Beanstalk, from the training we provide through to placing reading helpers in early years and primary school settings. We are proud to be able to offer a truly life-changing experience for both reading helpers and the children they support.

Does voluntary work take on added importance in the festive season?

Our reading helpers give the gift of reading through the work they do throughout the year, but at Christmas this really does take on added meaning. Reading can open doors to new worlds for children to explore and can help them form their own opinions and ideas. All this helps empower children and sets them up for success. 

It is so incredibly important for children to have access to books. Many of the children we support may not have many books at home, or any at all in some circumstances. We want to ensure that all children get the opportunity to fall in love with books and that’s what our supporters can help make happen for so many children.    

Many charities will face increased demand for their services during the festive period and, as a sector, it’s such an important time to ensure those who need help can access those services”

Many of our volunteers love being in the schools around Christmas time, with many being invited to the Christmas productions or other celebrations. It is often a time for reflection, as the majority of volunteers will have been supporting new children since September, and it’s amazing how much progress will have been made in that time.

It’s also a time for us to say thank you to all our amazing reading helpers who are the lifeblood of our charity and change so many children’s lives.

Where can people go to find out more about charitable initiatives taking place in their local area?

There are so many charities who need the support of volunteers in the local communities. A great website where you can search a range of opportunities is Do-it.org. The local council may also advertise projects as well as the local newspaper or community magazine.

in the charity sector, what are some of the biggest issues that need to be tackled during the Christmas season?

Many charities will face increased demand for their services during the festive period and, as a sector, it’s such an important time to ensure those who need help can access those services. It can be particularly hard and stressful for families who can’t afford very much at Christmas.

By supporting a local charity, you can help give a gift that will last a lifetime.

How can volunteers help beanstalk with their current projects?

We are always taking on new volunteers across the country. Experience is not necessary because we provide the training required. We just need people who are passionate about sharing a love of reading and passing that on to children who need a bit of extra help and encouragement to feel positive around books.

We know it’s not always possible for people to volunteer the time needed to be a reading helper. But there are a number of other ways you can help support the work we do, either by fundraising for us or telling your place of work about how they can get involved as a corporate partner.

You can find out about volunteering for us or support our work via our website.

Christmas Charity Work and Events at McCarthy & Stone

We’ve loved working with Coram Beanstalk throughout 2019 and so far, have raised over £105,000 for the charity across our business. You too can help us support Coram Beanstalk by donating whatever you can. During the festive season we’ll be doing more charitable things in our retirement developments, like making donations to charities and creating food parcels.

Over Christmas, our developments will also be hosting a number of Christmas events to help residents get into the festive spirit. So, make sure you know what’s happening at your development, so you don’t miss out on the fun.

Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
Loading...
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Hurry to Surrey

A small commute south of London but a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the capital sits rolling countryside, vast woodlands and quaint English villages ...Read more

Lifestyle

Beautiful Bistros

Our in-house catering team have been working behind the scenes to bring new services into our Retirement Living PLUS developments for our customers to enjoy ...Read more

Lifestyle

Couple Forge New Friendships in Retirement

Leslie and Ann Harpin, 87 and 81 recently made the decision to move to McCarthy and Stone’s Isabella House Retirement Living development in Hertford. The couple are not only enjoying spending more time together, they also have a new group of friends who they refer to as their extended family.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Your Resale Questions Answered

McCarthy & Stone’s Resales Director, David Gabriel has over 20 years’ experience selling preowned retirement properties and heads up our dedicated in-house resales service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Your Retirement Move is Safe in Our Hands 

The loss of a loved one is such an emotional experience for the family without the added stress of them being faced with selling their home. But if you need to sell your property, McCarthy & Stone Resales can take care of everything. ...Read more

Lifestyle

McCarthy and Stone Resales Success

McCarthy & Stone Resales is having a positive impact when it comes to supporting those who wish to resell their retirement properties, as well as helping new customers experience what a retirement living lifestyle is all about. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Tuning in To Singing in Later Life 

A singing group comprised of retirees from McCarthy & Stone’s Chinnerys Court Retirement Living development in Braintree, is showing how singing lifts the spirits and can be good for your health.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Tale of Happily Ever After

Good communication, consideration for each other and never going to bed without making up – are the secrets to a long, loving and successful marriage, says homeowners Mr and Mrs Bowhill. ...Read more

Lifestyle

£130,000 and Counting

Thanks to your generosity, we have smashed our target for this year’s charity partner Beanstalk. Here's a round up of some of the activities we have been getting up to across the UK. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Our Ultimate Christmas Recipes 

We've spoken to our Catering Manager who provides us with his ultimate Christmas recipes for you to try this season. They’re great for putting you in the Christmas spirit, and your friends and family members will love them. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Christmas Events – Roundup

We’re hosting a series of ‘At Home’ Christmas events for our residents and their families. Find out more about what’s happening in our roundup blog post.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

DIY Christmas Gifts you Still Have Time to Make 

With the countdown to Christmas now on, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. There are those people who buy and wrap everything by October, and then there’s the rest of us, who possibly leave things till the last minute. Well, why not get organised this year? ...Read more

Lifestyle

Christmas Decorating Tips 

To help make your home full of Christmas cheer, we’ve spoken to Clare Gibson, Head of Interior Design at McCarthy & Stone who’s provided her top Christmas decorating tips. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Tips for Successfully Downsizing

Many people find that later in life that their home is far bigger than they need. Downsizing can bring a variety of benefits, including both financial and practical ones. That said, it can often be an emotional or difficult time.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Remarkable UK Gardens for Autumn Colour 

Another season has flown by and now the summer heat has faded with the turn of autumn. With the cooler days and longer nights, our gardens are transforming into a rich tapestry of colour, from fiery reds and oranges to majestic golds. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Caring for House Plants 

From succulents to spider plants, the demand for indoor foliage is showing no signs of slowing down. No matter what the season, low maintenance house plants are ideal for brightening up the look and feel of a room. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Foraging Favourites

For many people, collecting and eating wild plants and fungi has been part of life since childhood, filling punnets with wild edibles from ripening berries to sweet chestnuts. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Spotlight on York

A city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth woven into  every  brick and beam, York seeps history at every turn. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Summer Events in 2019 To Look Out For

The summer season is packed with a variety of events to appeal to a range of interests and ages. Savour the delights of new and exciting cuisine, enjoy the thrill of world-class horse racing and discover the latest super cars, at events taking place across the summer months.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

It's All Greek To Us

Sparkling white beaches, deep blue seas, sugar-cube villages and venerable ancient sites make the
Greek islands an idyllic holiday destination for many. Tourists can immerse in the Greek cuisine,
century-old sites and local culture each island has to offer, while enjoy luxurious accommodation
and the locals’ warm and welcoming hospitality. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Fishing for Fun

Looking for an exhilarating and challenging activity that brings a sense of serenity and calmness? We think we’ve found the perfect catch. ...Read more

Lifestyle

It’s time to start living life to the full again

A McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living Plus apartment is about getting more from life for the over 70s. It’s the perfect combination really - company when you want it, help when you could use it, care when you need it. And all in the comfort of your own stylish new home. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Staying Cool and Well During A Heatwave

Although warmer weather can be a welcome sight for many, the increased temperatures can lead to
added risks for some, particularly those with health issues or those that are more vulnerable. Stay well with these tips.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The History of Father's Day

Father’s Day is the perfect time to thank fathers and father figures for their help and support. In this post, McCarthy & Stone look at the history of Father’s Day. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A New Adventure 

Colin and Pat Mackay are looking forward to making the most of their retirement following their move to North Berwick.

...Read more

Lifestyle

The Benefits of Downsizing in Retirement

There are many benefits of downsizing and if this is something you are considering, here, we share our knowledge about downsizing, and explain why it could be one of the best things you can do for your retirement.   ...Read more

Lifestyle

Blooming Marvellous: The Chelsea Flower Show

The world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s the most glamorous day out in the gardening calendar.

The grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are once again blooming with flora as the Royal Horticultural Society prepares to welcome 157,000 spectators to their annual five-day flower festival in May. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Working After Retirement – Is It For You?

More and more people are choosing to put off their retirement and continue working. Plus, in many other cases, those who have already retired are looking to return to work. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of each situation. ...Read more

Lifestyle

How To Manage Your Diet In Retirement

There are many extra demands placed on our bodies as we progress through life and because of this our nutritional needs also change as a result. It is never too late to revamp your nutrition and nurture your body with a healthier diet.   ...Read more

Lifestyle

Tackling loneliness among older people with Pen Pals

We understand the problem of loneliness amongst older people and we want to do something to combat it. That’s why we have created our latest Pen Pals programme, an outlet to connect older people with other older people in communities by the writing and exchanging of letters. Click to find out more. ...Read more

Lifestyle

How To Make New Friends In Retirement

Friendship is hugely important at every stage in life, and retirement is no exception. What’s more, in retirement you could make the most of the extra free time you have to discover different experiences and meet new people – leading to new friendships and relationships.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Wally & The Flying Scotsman

Popular North Gate Court customer Wally Blazey moved into their McCarthy & Stone apartment with his wife Gladys seven months ago, and the couple have just celebrated their 72nd anniversary. At 92, Wally is one of the two last surviving drivers of the Flying Scotsman, the most famous steam locomotive in the world. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more