From attending our early literacy classes with her toddler, to volunteering as a reader in schools, to a place on our board of trustees, Sarah Alleyne’s involvement with Learn to Love to Read has been wide and varied.
Sarah explains: My five-year-old was at a new primary school, I had a toddler and I was pregnant. The school, a very good school, knew I had a bit of spare time. They mentioned they had a toddler session run by Learn to Love to Read. We went along and loved it. Then once I had the baby I took both of them along – we put Lewis on a beanbag and got on with it. A little later I got into volunteering and then I became a trustee.’
Her biggest reward as a trustee is ‘being part of this organisation that is a huge help to children and the adults that they’ll become. You can’t put a price on something like that.’
Her awareness of the difference the organisation makes is based on her earlier work as a volunteer, where she loved ‘seeing the development of the children we’re helping. The change is drastic. Fifteen to thirty minutes a week – but without that little bit of help they possibly wouldn’t enjoy reading for the rest of their lives. And with that help they can love it – it’s one of the only things you can give a child that they’ll have for ever.’
Understanding the value of what Learn to Love to Read does can also bring challenges: Sarah sees how many children need the charity’s help and not being able to support them all is difficult.
‘But,’ she says, ‘although we can’t help them all we focus on the area of greatest need – and as long as you’re helping some people then what you’re doing is invaluable.’