City Parks Literacy Group

Booktrust: Power of Reading Award
South East

Eight gardeners with Brighton & Hove City Council’s Parks and Gardens Department have used newly acquired literacy skills to help their families and fellow workers, and are now learning ambassadors to the wider community.

With reading skills at Level 1 or below, and no further education since school, all the gardeners had negative memories of learning and were apprehensive about returning to a classroom. But a Train to Gain programme run jointly by the
council and the GMB Union has given them a new zest for learning.

“It has boosted my confidence so I can help my six year old with his homework,” said David Coleman, a member of the group. Similarly, another group member Nick Burton said: “I’m reading bedtime stories to my children (which they love). I have noticed my children are taking a greater interest in reading and school activities in general.”

For John Durrant, the key to success was mutual support. “We are improving by helping ourselves and each other.”

When the Mayor opened a new learning centre, the three agreed to address the audience, praising the centre, in what their nominator, Angela Farnham-Smith, from Central Sussex College, called a ‘courageous’ act. “This whole group has worked endlessly to develop their skills, and their enthusiasm is rewarding for any teacher.”

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“I’m reading bedtime stories to my children (which they love). I have noticed my children are taking a greater interest in reading and school activities in general.”
City Parks Literacy Group, 2010 Award Winner

Film produced by Coracle Films