Comment: Helping the children be our future

THIS month sees the start of an ambitious literacy programme that is set to truly transform the futures of hundreds of youngsters in our island.

THIS month sees the start of an ambitious literacy programme that is set to truly transform the futures of hundreds of youngsters in our island.

As our special report on pages 6 and 7 today reveals, the recently-launched charity Every Child Our Future has been in existence for just eight months but it is already poised to start improving the reading skills, and ultimately the lives, of primary school pupils who might otherwise struggle to achieve their full potential.

In this relatively short time, an army of volunteers has not only been recruited but made ready and equipped to offer vital one-to-one mentoring through the so-called ‘better reading partnership’.

Without their generosity and commitment, the scheme – the first of a three-wave approach from ECOF to improve reading and numeracy in our schools – would not be possible.

So just how has it been done?

The drive and enthusiasm of its founder, Denise Fallaize, has been key. A proven businesswoman, and a parent, she has been determined to play a part in tackling the literacy issues that can blight or at worst devastate progress and self-esteem from an early age.

Inspiring the community to support the vision has been a major coup, as has been getting the buy-in from Education and various parts of the business community who are allowing staff to take time out to help.

As the programme – similar to a successful UK scheme that has shown a real improvement in pupil performance – is rolled out over the coming months, that achievement is likely to become even more apparent.

Nothing is more precious than developing young minds and this seems set to be a living, breathing example of how inspirational people and all sectors of our community when prepared to listen and work together can make a real, tangible difference.

Hopefully, as highlighted at this week’s Community Awards and championed by Baroness Pitkeathley, more of such partnerships between the state and charities will be forged, launched and encouraged to flourish here in Guernsey.