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Library project teaching Norfolk residents to read gets £98,000 boost

22 March 2017

A library mentoring project to help more than 750 Norfolk residents learn to read can go ahead after today receiving a funding boost of nearly £100,000.

Norfolk County Council’s library and information service is setting up the Norfolk Reading Pathway following the grant of £98,020 from Arts Council England.

The project will support emergent readers aged 8 and over by offering mentoring support and the use of one-to-one phonics-based teaching. It is hoped that service will get people becoming fluent readers within six months.

The service will now be looking to recruit 150 volunteers to help deliver the scheme over the coming year. Sessions will take place across Norfolk’s 47 libraries and those taking part will be offered 30 minute sessions twice a week for up to six months.

There is already an established network of library volunteers and the opportunity will also be offered to volunteers supporting other Norfolk County Council services. Adult learners will be identified through the libraries’ links with other local partners and the scheme will also be offered through the service’s three prison libraries.

Norfolk County Council’s Head of Library Services Janet Holden said: “This valuable new service will support people at all stages of their life, whether for education, work or leisure. The Norfolk Reading Pathway will galvanize an army of reading volunteers across the county to help deliver its goals. Reading is one of life’s vital skills and this project will enable people to learn at their own pace in a library with a volunteer, building reading skills, confidence and self-esteem, we are delighted that the grant from the Arts Council will allow us to do this in Norfolk.”

Hedley Swain, of Arts Council England, said: “Literacy is a huge part of our lives and opens up so many more possibilities to us, introducing us to new places and ideas, new experiences and new opportunities, both professionally and personally. We’re delighted to be able to support the Norfolk Reading Pathway and hope that it will support more people of all ages to improve their reading skills and their confidence to use them in everyday life.”

The funding was given by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Libraries Opportunities for Everyone Innovation Fund, which saw £3.9million handed out to 30 library services across the UK.

Notes to editors

Norfolk County Council's Library and Information Service has 47 libraries and 8 mobile libraries. It is free to join the service and borrow books. Items can be returned to any county library.

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