Rushanara Ali MP visits Christ Church Primary

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Rushanara Ali, Shadow Education Minister and MP for Bethnal Greenand Bow has visited Christ Church Primary, Brick Lane to meet children supported by the Inspiring Reading project, a joint initiative from Beanstalk, the children’s literacy charity and the Mayor’s Fund,

On Friday 13rd December, Rushanara Ali, Shadow Education Minister and MP for Bethnal Green and Bow visited Christ Church Primary, Brick Lane to meet children supported by the Inspiring Reading project, a joint initiative from Beanstalk, the children’s literacy charity and the Mayor’s Fund.

The Inspiring Reading project aims to help 2,000 young Londoners across 147 schools in some of the Capital’s most disadvantaged areas to improve their reading skills.

The Shadow Minister met Beanstalk volunteer Debbie Heatlie, who works with three children, twice a week, at the Tower Hamlets school, as well as the three children she supports. After observing a session with Debbie, the MP read from Michael Lawrence’s ‘Young Monsters’, to the children.

Speaking after the visit, the Shadow Minister said, “I’m delighted that Beanstalk is working in Christ Church school, in my constituency. Reading is vital for our children, to ensure that they can fulfil their aspirations and make a contribution to our society and gain employment. Beanstalk’s early intervention is making an amazing contribution to the work the school is doing”

Christ Church Headteacher Julian Morant said: “Beanstalk reading helpers make a positive impact at the school.  The weekly sessions provide each pupil an hour of valuable, individual adult attention. As well as boosting their confidence, this also provides them with essential reading skills in order to access the curriculum fully.” 

Beanstalk volunteer, 41 year old  Debbie Heatlie, a librarian at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, said. “”I love my work here. After 90 minutes of reading with the children you feel as if you’ve made a real difference – it’s wonderful!”

“Inspiring children to read is a critical element in our mission to give young Londoners the skills and opportunities to get a decent job.” explained

Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London, who also met the Minister, “Illiteracy is closely linked to long-term unemployment, ill-health and crime.”

The charity is currently working in seven schools in Tower Hamlets and is calling for more volunteers to come forward to work in the borough.

Rosie White, Beanstalk’s Area Manager for London East and North West said: “Our reading helpers come from all walks of life. They volunteer for many different reasons but they’re united by a love of reading and a commitment to helping children to read, grow and succeed. We’d encourage anyone to contact us directly if you think you could give a child the gift of reading.” 

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