Thursday, 28 October 2010

Reading Buddies

How many times have you thought, all things considered, my life is pretty good?  How many times have you then thought, you know what, I would really like to give something back?  It's something that has been on my mind for a while.

The question then is, what do I give back, how do I give it back and to whom should this giving back go?

Well luckily for me, the answer came in a BBC email via the Children in Need office several weeks ago.  They were on the hunt for volunteers to be Reading Buddies.  This is a scheme run by a charity called Ablaze, who through various organisations recruit volunteers to spend one lunchtime a week or a fortnight to visit a school, buddy up with a child and help them with their reading and literacy skills.  Well how could I refuse such an exciting and worthwhile request.

Reading has always been a passion for me and I spend a lot of time with my son looking at books, describing pictures, reading the stories to him, asking him questions about what we are looking at.  I had stories read to me as a child and my weekly treat was being given a brand new Ladybird Book which I treasured.

There are children out there who don't have these things.  Books don't even feature in their homes.  Television and computer games rule the day.  Some parents don't always have the time or inclination to read with their children.  Some children's situations are such that they don't get one to one time with anyone.  If I can help just one child gain the enthusiasm for reading that I had, get their imaginations fired, give them some precious time to make them feel important, help them on their way to achieving their aspirations then I will be priviliged.

You have to be fully CRB checked and attend a training course.  Well I attended the short course this morning covering all aspects of being a Reading Buddy.  There were 29 of us, mainly women, but I'm pleased to say a few men had turned up.  It was the biggest group they had had and the course leader was positively beaming.  It was reiterated that we would be making a real difference and I admit to feeling a little choked up.  We were told how to approach the sessions in terms of communication with the children.  How to impart our knowledge and help them learn.  How not to interrupt when they first make a mistake and importantly to relate to them as individuals.  Make sure we show an interest in them, find out what they like, praise them and help raise their confidence.  Also, most significantly to make it fun.

I came out of the course feeling truly excited and a little nervous.  My CRB check has come back and I'm pleased, and a little relieved, to say that nothing untoward has shown up.  So, I am ready to go.  I hope I can live up to expectations and I hope that I can really make a difference.  I'm waiting to hear when my first session will be and when I will actually meet my Reading Buddy. 

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I am currently sitting in a little basement office, looking out of the window and contemplating life, Australia and what to have for lunch.

Life has been a challenge in many ways over the last couple of years.  Keeping the work life balance with a baby is tough at the best of times and a little more difficult when you are freelance and don't always have a steady income.  However, things have a way of working themselves out and at the moment I have two jobs which are bringing in the pennies.  It does mean that I'm pretty much full time, but in a flexible way that still allows me to spend time with my son before and after work and of course during the weekends.

Australia is occupying my thoughts as I have a forthcoming shoot to prepare for.  I'm not actually travelling there myself, but I am organising the logistics and managing the budget.  I still don't know why it happens, but however prepared you think you are there are always last minute issues that crop up in the final hours before departure.  I have a crew travelling to Indonesia today, one of whom was only able to pick up his all important visa yesterday just hours before his flight.

Lunch is very much on my mind simply because it is that time of day and I'm hungry.

This is my very first blog.  Short and to the point.  It's my test to see how easily the words flow.  I have been inspired by a Facebook friend to turn my hand to writing and to see where it might take me.