Literacy Champions is the umbrella name for the community-based volunteers in National Literacy Trust Hubs who support literacy in their area. The project aims to increase literacy levels through the establishing and embedding of networks of literacy volunteers within communities of people who are least engaged with services and who are less often heard.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was evident that the initiative in our Read On Nottingham was particularly successful in terms of engaging volunteers and in the variety of digital activity they initiated. In autumn 2021, we undertook research in collaboration with Small Steps Big Changes to explore the success in Nottingham further and deepen our understanding of the factors that make Literacy Champions successful. This report presents the key factors that contribute to the engagement of volunteers and the lessons we can learn from these.
Summary of elements that supported volunteers’ engagement in Nottingham:
Personal motivations, skills and interests
- Benefits for family literacy
- Linking volunteering with personal skills and interests
- Seeing the impact of their work
Support and resources
- The role of the Literacy Champions Project Manager
- High quality resources
Flexibility of volunteering
- Benefits of digital volunteering such as through the Read On Nottingham Facebook page
Focus on community
- Literacy Champions community
- Importance of the local community
- Community of professional network
What can we learn from these?
- Foster personal motivations, skills and interests
- Continue to provide high quality support and resources
- Maintain and increase the flexibility of volunteering
- Focus on and strengthen the community aspect