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Literacy Champions: trusted local voices

Added 03 Jun 2024 | Updated 04 Jun 24

Bradford Literacy Champions - Frizinghall

Literacy Champions is a National Literacy Trust community volunteering programme that seeks to raise awareness of the importance of literacy in underserved communities across the country.

Volunteers are recruited from the communities we work with and trained to better understand their local literacy challenges and how to deliver informal activities to tackle them. They then support existing literacy projects or establish small-scale projects of their own.

Evidence from our recent evaluation testifies to the power Literacy Champions' and how they crucially provide a trusted local voice to transform literacy in the communities they are serving.

Key Findings about the impact of Literacy Champion volunteers

Literacy Champions are credible advocates who reflect the communities they support.

  • Nearly a third (30%) of neighbourhoods in areas with National Literacy Trust Hubs are in the 10% most deprived nationally, matched by the 3 in 10 (30%) of volunteers who live in neighbourhoods that are also in the top 10% of those that are most deprived. 62% of volunteers also occupy positions of trust in their communities, whether they work in community organisations or in settings and libraries.

The activities delivered by Literacy Champions clearly benefit those who participate.

  • 69% said they were more likely to read having taken part in activities with a volunteer and 50% said they were more likely to read with their family. Participants also became advocates for literacy themselves after working with the volunteers, with 88% reporting they were more confident in supporting the reading and writing of those around them.

Literacy Champions volunteers are confident in the impact of their activities.

  • 95% believe that they have encouraged others to engage with literacy. More specifically, 89% said they had modelled positive literacy behaviours and 94% said they helped their community access books and other resources.

Literacy Champions’ skills and confidence to advocate for literacy grew as they volunteered.

  • 92% said they were more aware of how best to support literacy in their community, while 82% said their confidence in delivering informal literacy provision had increased.
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