A CHARITY which helps adults learn to read has launched a new branch in Basingstoke.

Read Easy UK works to support adults to learn to read, with volunteer coaches working one-to-one with the reader, using age appropriate reading material.

Jane Ford, chair of the Basingstoke branch, said around 2.4 million adults in England struggle to read, which can lead to isolation and low self-esteem.

She added: “Not being able to read isn’t linked with intelligence. It could be because someone is dyslexic which wasn’t recognised or a variety of other reasons. Not being able to read really restricts your job prospects and it can be very isolating. If an adult is unable to read, they might not be able to help their child with homework so it can reinforce the cycle. Mental health is affected through low self-esteem.”

The personal assistant is currently recruiting reading coaches who will support readers for two half-an-hour sessions each week in a public place chosen to suit both the reader and coach.

Jane said: “It could be a library, café or coffee shop. New coaches attend a one-day training session at the beginning and then after some six months or so of teaching there is a second consolidation training day.”

The first training session will be on Saturday, September 28 with others to follow for those interested in becoming a volunteer.

Jane said the role promises to be rewarding, explaining: “You are going to massively improve someone’s life by helping them to read. I hope that helping someone overcome all that isolation and loneliness and low self-esteem will make it worthwhile.”

She added: “I can’t imagine not being able to read, so I was very keen to help get it all up and running.”

Adults unable to read can struggle with day-to-day life such as food shopping, using cash points, reading bus timetables or understanding health warnings.

Other challenges include going to the doctor, talking to teachers, filling in forms or engaging with the benefits system.

Jane said: “People are often too embarrassed to admit their difficulties and very few feel able to join an adult education class due to previous experiences of failure at school. Read Easy offers a much more accessible, community-based approach to helping adults learn to read.”

The charity is looking for a volunteer coordinator for the Basingstoke group who will take charge of enrolling adults who want to learn to read, and interview volunteer reading coaches to pair them with a new reader.

For more information email basingstoke@readeasy.org.uk, call 07592450789 or find Read Easy Basingstoke on Facebook.