Helping hand to improve literacy

HELP is at hand for parents with literacy problems in parts of Ipswich.Those from the Gainsborough, Greenwich, Priory Heath and Racecourse areas of the town can improve their reading, writing and numeracy - and their career options - at the Tree House Children's Centre.

HELP is at hand for parents with literacy problems in parts of Ipswich.

Those from the Gainsborough, Greenwich, Priory Heath and Racecourse areas of the town can improve their reading, writing and numeracy - and their career options - at the Tree House Children's Centre.

Up to one-fifth of adults in England have severe problems with basic reading, writing, figures and sums, putting them at a particular disadvantage when it comes to finding a job.

Helen Seager and Judith Bourne, staff at the centre in Clapgate Lane, Ipswich, said: “Improving people's literacy and numeracy skills is a key aim for staff at the centre.

“Low ability to read and write can severely limit career options, leading to low-paid, menial work.

“We try to build people's confidence so they believe they can take a qualification and succeed.

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“Many parents would like to work but need to know they will be able to manage it and that they will have ongoing local support with childcare, links to other agencies and advice.

“We, as a team, have those links and are committed to improving parents' skills in this way.”

The courses are aimed at parents, mainly for children under five, and so other people will be referred to different agencies.

Every Wednesday, the centre provides a free drop-in session to help people with writing CVs and finding a job, where parents can have one-to-one sessions with trained staff to discuss work possibilities

For families from the Bangladeshi community, there are ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and getting ready for work classes.

The centre, in conjunction with Suffolk College, also provides two education courses.

The first helps learners gain a vocational literacy or numeracy qualification, while the second looks to improve money and numeracy skills.

Parents who use the centre are also encouraged to use the library and attend story-telling sessions.

n. Has the Children's Centre been instrumental in helping you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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