Agenda item

CAC/19/11 Funding Request: Let's Talk Reading Literacy Programme

Minutes:

37.1.    Mr Turnbull reported that £4,158.25 was requested by Let’s Talk Reading to enable the further development of its literacy programme in Central Ipswich.

37.2.    Mr John Helleur, Chair of Let’s Talk Reading, highlighted the aims of the Literacy Programme, which was in the third year of a ten-year programme and had built a sustainable base with partners and volunteers. To date, Let’s Talk Reading had worked with 15 schools, 30 nurseries/pre-school groups, attended ante-natal and post-natal classes, issued book bags to 2-year olds and 375 adult literacy manuals and now had 34 volunteers actively working.

37.3.    The 2019/20 programme would seek to continue with the issue of books and book bags for Early Years, deliver post-natal classes through Suffolk Babies and provide materials to establish a ‘Read Easy Ipswich’ hub to deliver one-to-one coaching for adults.  If funded in full, the programme would seek to improve literacy of 680 children, 125 adults and 20 staff in Central Ipswich.

37.4.    Councillor Kreidewolf highlighted that children learn most in the first 3 years of their lives and that education was failing in Suffolk, and commented that the closure of children’s centres would only exacerbate this problem.

37.5.    Councillor Jones asked how often the Let’s Talk Reading team attended the nurseries located in Central Ipswich listed in the appendix and whether this was just for Story Time or if parents were also taught to read to their children.
Ms Pyper reported that staff at nurseries were often of low literacy and so were given training in story-telling. Parents were invited to attend when dropping off their children and encouraged to read with them to understand the importance of reading to their children.

37.6.    Councillor Jones asked whether it was possible to determine whether the parents who got involved with Story Time sessions were already reading to their children.
Ms Pyper commented that staff would try to get parents engaged in story-telling and identify those who did not.

37.7.    Councillor Cook asked whether Let’s Talking Reading had approached SCC for funding and if there was any indication that this could be supported.
Ms Pyper commented that Early Years work would not be funded by SCC.  Let’s Talk Reading had approached County Councillors for locality funding for the parent engagement and adult literacy elements and were waiting for a response.

37.8.    Councillor I Lockington commented that if there was a shortage of books in households, parents should be referred to libraries. 
Ms Pyper reported that the book bags included details of local libraries and story-telling opportunities.

37.9.    Councillor I Lockington commented that at the North West Area Committee it had been suggested that Waterstones be approached for sponsorship of the book bags and added that some parents were not good readers.
Ms Pyper commented that the books selected for the book bags were not too difficult to read.

37.10.Councillor Riley highlighted the problem of pre-school staff not being well trained and the wide scope of Let’s Talk Reading’s Literacy Programme, and suggested that the focus should be on Early Years and Adult Literacy, not schools; however, funding would be required from other sources to make a real difference.

37.11.County Councillor Abbott commented on the education challenge for Suffolk, especially in relation to Early Years in disadvantaged areas, and highlighted the rise in the number of children being excluded from early schooling due to challenging behaviour. County Councillor Abbott added that education was not the responsibility of Ipswich Borough Council and suggested that Let’s Talk Reading approach the Ipswich Opportunity Area for support.

37.12.Councillor Jones commented that the Suffolk Babies website did not indicate any services being provided in Ipswich and questioned whether the Clinical Commission Group (CCG) should be funding the work with babies.
Mr Helleur reported that Suffolk Babies was the chosen supplier for ante-natal classes in hospitals, but most parents from disadvantaged areas did not attend these classes. Let’s Talk Reading had established free classes in the Gainsborough area and wanted to expand this service to other disadvantaged areas, with an emphasis placed on reading and communication from an early age. Ms Pyper added that the CCG did commission Suffolk Babies, but did not fund them.

37.13.Councillor Jones commented on the small number of adults taking up the adult literacy service despite the number of volunteers available.  Councillor Jones proposed that £3,500 be allocated to Let’s Talk Reading and this was agreed.   Councillor Jones added that County Councillors could be approached for locality funding.

Resolved:

 

that the Central Area Committee approve funding of £3,500 from the Central Area Committee budget to Let’s Talk Reading to deliver its Literacy Programme in Central Ipswich.

 

Reason: To improve the life chances of residents in Central Ipswich, to improve the education and skills levels in Central Ipswich and to support the economy in Central Ipswich.

Supporting documents: