Volunteering at our Sheffield Partnership

Capita employees volunteer weekly from our Sheffield partnership to help local children with their reading

Working at Capita is about far more than just getting the job done, it opens up a world of charity and volunteering opportunities.

One such opportunity that has been growing in effectiveness and popularity has been the Volunteer Reading Mentor Project in Sheffield, which Capita has been supporting since 2010. The project aims to help local children with their literacy, helping build a strong foundation for their future. Since 2010 over 27 volunteers have been involved donating 1,200 hours of support to 3 junior school in Sheffield

Each week during term time, we have volunteers from our Sheffield partnership  visit nearby schools and spend time providing support to children: chatting, working, and reading in a one-to-one environment. While the aim of each session is to help the child read, there’s almost always time to chat and play a game of hangman.

Ashley Smith is just one of the volunteers on the scheme. He has worked on our Sheffield Partnership since November 2014, starting as a business and administration apprentice before being offered a role with the Council Tax team. Ashley regularly reads with pupils through the volunteer scheme and has built up an excellent relationship, acting as a mentor and support for these children.

“In Year Six reading is a high priority and we have identified some children that need a boost to help them to achieve expected standards by the end of the key stage. Your staff have been absolutely fantastic this year with our children. It has been great for the children to see a familiar smiling face arrive every week for their dedicated reading time. The children have enjoyed sharing their books, reading and discussing what they have read. The children involved have all benefited and become more confident with reading and talking about texts. This is a valuable project and partnership and I am looking forward to it continuing in the future.” 

Cheryl Deakin, teacher at Wybourn Primary

And it’s not just the school that’s felt there’s been value added. Ashley has noticed a change in himself too. By putting himself in this new situation, Ashley has learned adapt quickly, work in a high energy environment, keep an eye on his priorities and even take control when required. Ashley’s experience in the reading scheme has helped improve not only the lives of the children he worked with, but also his own.

Outreach programmes like this allows our Sheffield Partnership to build a strong relationship with the local community, as well as reinforcing confidence and competency for those who take part. And this can all happen in just an hour a week.

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