GRANT TO HELP BEAT ILLITERACY

HELP to improve literacy among parents and children in the Waterlees area of Wisbech has been welcomed by the area’s district councillors.

Waterlees ranks in the top 10 per cent of the country for having the poorest levels of literacy and Fenland councillor Virginia Bucknor, who represents the area, is delighted the issue has been recognised.

She welcomed news that Cambridgeshire County Council has pledged £26,000 worth of funding for a new literacy project.

“I’m absolutely delighted.

“When we talk about the area being in the top 10 per cent for illiteracy we’re talking about adults. It is an issue that goes through generations,

“I have been in to homes where the grandmother, mother and daughter are all unable to read. It is difficult to get a true analysis because people are embarrassed and hide their illiteracy,” said Mrs Bucknor.

The funding announced on Monday is part of the Waterlees Community Literacy Project, a pilot project which runs until the end of March 2013.

The Waterlees Community Hub has been given £680 to buy iPads, while nearly £13,000 has been awarded to fund a development worker.

Another £10,000 will fund a literacy co-ordinator, and £3,000 has been given to help fund a micro library.

The Literacy Project has three main aims:

n To enable parents in the Waterlees area understand their role in supporting their children’s literacy development and to receive support and guidance to do this.

n To give the Waterlees community a greater awareness of the benefits of literacy and to celebrate these.

n To give organisations working in Waterlees the skills and knowledge to identify and support vulnerable people with literacy needs, in addition to improved referral routes for literacy support.

Mrs Bucknor said the aim is to encourage parents and others who can read to support and help those that can’t.

“This is a good start in recognising the problem but it really is only scratching the surface, they is a long way to go to raise levels of literacy and we need to encourage people to not feel embarrassed and to seek the support they need,” she concluded.