Help a child read: Recycle responsibly - Blog

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Monday 14th October 2019

Every year, millions of children are being exposed to poisonous chemicals due to the tonnes of electronics that are being illegally dumped in developing countries. Some of these chemicals include mercury, lead, flame retardants and polluting PVC plastics, all of which can severely harm human health. In fact, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency, reports that an estimated 80% of the children in China suffer from respiratory diseases and high concentrations of lead in their blood. 

Here at Paper Round, we believe we can provide the best electronic waste management while making sure we don’t put any more children at risk. This ethos led us to form our partnership with the Children’s Literacy Charity, whereby we donate the value of one tutoring session for a child in the UK at risk of illiteracy for every 15 working PCs or laptops that we collect. 

We sat down with the charity’s CEO, Matthew Hickey, to discuss what they do and how our contributions are helping.

1. Primarily, could you tell me a bit about the background of the charity? Its beginning and how its progressed throughout the years?

The Children’s Literacy Charity started life as Springboard for Children, born around a school in Peckham. Our founder Jane had been visiting a school in Peckham and heard of a boy who needed extra help which the school couldn’t provide. Jane suggested she work with him, and a few other children, to overcome the literacy difficulties that he was facing. For the full story watch our video of Michael’s story, the first child we supported https://youtu.be/NL4dEZy-G1Y

2. What have been some of the biggest accomplishments you’ve seen in your time at the charity?

Whilst I have been here, we have:

  • Rebranded – changed our name from Springboard for Children to The Children’s Literacy Charity
  • Retained – we keep delivering in the schools even though the schools are struggling financially, which is testament to the quality of the work we deliver
  • Grown – we have delivered more through the creation of Community Literacy Labs, growing from 2 to 6 this year
  • Aware – we have seen a marked increase in the awareness of the charity, with more people wanting to know more about what we do, with a 400% increase of social media following, new website for people to donate to us, and lots of unsolicited approaches to the charity for support

3. On the other hand, what have been some of the difficulties you’ve faced?

Biggest issue facing all charities now is income generation. Competition, economic uncertainty and a lack of public sector funds is making income generation increasingly more difficult. To counteract this, we are putting a huge amount into supporting our current funders to that we can do more together – so we hope to be able to keep our relationship with Paper Round and build on the successes we have!

4. Can you tell me a little bit more about the literacy labs? What takes place during a lesson? 

We provide each child with two, 45-minute, one-to-one literacy sessions per week with their tutor over the academic year.  We work closely with our 21 school partners and their Special Educational Needs Coordinators to identify the children most in need. The teaching model we use is a holistic, multi-sensory, phonics based programme that focuses on all aspects of literacy: reading, writing, comprehension, speaking and listening. We use fun games and age appropriate books to stimulate learning.


5. What’s been one of the worst cases you’ve seen in your time at the charity?

Some of the worst cases involve children who have lost so much confidence that they start school being mute. With our support and the relationship, they build with their tutor, their confidence in themselves as learners grows, and they find themselves able to speak up in class and their learning improves in leaps and bounds

6. Are your tutors all volunteers?

Simply, no. We employ our tutors to work with the children on a 1-2-1 basis. Those who we employ are from a teaching/working with children background, with some former teachers, teaching assistants and the like. Our tutors are trained, and then given a robust induction – followed by a high quality CPD programme throughout the year. We do engage volunteers to, who work alongside our tutors, which is usually in our community Literacy Labs.

7. Have Paper Round’s contributions been beneficial for the organisation?

The money donated by Paper Round is very much appreciated, and we are very grateful for your support. As one of our longest standing corporate partnerships, we look forward to working together for years to come.

8. What does the future hold for the charity?

The demand for the Children’s Literacy Charity is high. Our evidence of impact is very strong. If we can generate the income to grow, then there is no reason that the charity should be able go from strength to strength. The growth in our peer mentoring programme will see bigger engagement in secondary schools, and through our community programme we will be able to reach more disadvantaged children. 

9. Would you like to add anything else?

Just a huge thank you to Paper Round for the support they have provided, and for the support going into the future!

It only takes #OneGreatDecision to change the way we deal with our electronics; reduce, reuse and recycle responsibly.

Lorella Fava

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