Read Easy on lookout for new members
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 September 2015
The scheme helps adults who either can’t read or who lacks confidence with reading.
A user of a newly-formed reading group launched in Honiton has spoken about how the scheme has ‘changed his life’.
Andy, who has lived in Honiton for the last 11 years, was unable to confidently read and write for more than 30 years of his life.
The 52-year-old former landscape gardener said he was made to feel like a ‘dunce’ at school, and left with no qualifications at 15 years old.
But now he has found a new lease of life with Read Easy, a charity which provides one-to-one support for those who have, for whatever reason, found reading difficult in the past.
Andy said: “Before I started this course, I could not read or write properly.
“I had a bad education because the classes were really big and my mum and dad were working all of the time because they had to do it. They never had any time.”
A child of six, Andy picked up several jobs after school, including lorry driving, general building work and his gardening.
“It was really hard not being able to read and write,” he added. “But I thought I could get by.
“When I wanted to read something I couldn’t, I would have to ask someone which was embarrassing, so it was a big jump to do this.”
Andy’s desire to learn to read and write shone through when he was on his course. Within his first few sessions, his coach Erica Moore saw that he was not bad at reading or writing at all – just short on confidence.
She said: “I think when Andy came to us, he had told himself that he could not do this.
“But he was more capable than he realised.
“He learned the phonetic alphabet and then was able to go through our starter book – Yes We Can Read – quite quickly, right up until the end.
“One of the greatest things for me was when I walked into the library and saw him at the machine. He had chosen his book and was taking it out.
“He has got so much more confidence about himself.”
Andy added: “If anyone asks me how to spell a word, I will have a go now – I will volunteer. If someone gives me a challenge, I want to do it.
“The Read Easy team are unbelievable, especially as they are doing this in their own time - they make you feel good and give you that get up and go.”
Those who want to find out more about Read Easy are invited to attend the group’s first annual general meeting.
It is being held on Tuesday, September 8, at Honiton Methodist Church Hall, from 6.30pm.
Erica said: “Many adults who have been helped in the past have found their confident and general well-being improves as a result of being able to read more easily.
“We are extremely grateful to Honiton Library, the Kings Centre Food Bank, Honiton Community College, Gissage House and Otter Nurseries for allowing us to use their rooms free of charge - we could not operate without them.
“We would welcome additional venues, especially for evenings to enable us to help those already in employment.”
David Bibby, co-ordinator of Read Easy, added: “I have enjoyed my first year immensely. It is great to help the community and feel that you are doing something worthwhile that is reflected in the feedback we get from our readers. It is a very rewarding position.”
Read Easy is now on the lookout for readers - those interested, call 07934175734.