Help with A-Z for struggling children

THE newest North East charity has vowed to help struggling children after a hard-hitting study on the standards of reading among primary school pupils.

A lmost one in five youngsters left primary school unable to read to the required standard, according to SATs statistics from last year.

The national children’s charity Volunteer Reading Help has opened a branch in County Durham, its first new outlet in almost ten years.

The charity is already supporting 28 local children, from a number of schools, who are struggling with their reading.

It aims to back 60 children by the end of the school year.

The scheme has a team of reading helpers who support the same children week in, week out.

VRH’s chief executive Sue Porto said: “The VRH programme is a simple, cost-effective solution that is a great example of communities in action: bringing local volunteers into schools to help teachers raise standards.

“We’re delighted to have opened our newest branch in Durham thanks to funding from Network Rail and the Breadsticks Foundation, and hope that many children will benefit from our support in the coming years”.

Volunteer Reading Help is a national charity which has helped more than 5,000 children since 1973 and has the support of over 1,900 reading helpers.

Primary schools interested in finding out more about the scheme or local residents interested in volunteering as reading helpers should contact VRH’s volunteer services manager Clare Sandford on 0845 450 344, email

Alternatively, you can visit for more information.