Literacy Group Volunteer Leader • Vision RCL

Literacy Group Volunteer Leader


Do you have a passion for running adult reading groups? Would you like to share that passion by supporting adults who have experienced multiple disadvantage to improve their literacy? We are looking for a skilled and experienced literacy champion with a sensitivity and understanding of the issues facing adults who have experienced homelessness.

Did you know that around 51% of homeless people lack the basic English skills needed for everyday life, compared to 15% of the general population in England? Studies indicate that there is also a strong link between homelessness and dyslexia, alongside other kinds of neurodiversity. This often goes undiagnosed and can lead to isolation and stigmatising from school-age through to adulthood.

In partnership with SHP (Single Homeless Project – A London based charity supporting homeless and vulnerably housed adults), Redbridge Libraries would like to address this issue by offering Literacy Groups, tailored to this marginalised community. The purpose of the groups would be to improve literacy and thereby help participants to gain confidence, independence, access to employment opportunities and a passion for reading great books.

We are looking for a Literacy Group Volunteer Leader to help set-up, shape and facilitate these groups, alongside a worker from SHP and/or a Literacy Group Volunteer Assistant. This is a new initiative, so you will have an opportunity to put your stamp on this exciting project.

You will support Redbridge Central Library with a variety of duties outlined below. Are you ready to join this transformative project and impact the lives of this often forgotten about community?

Who you are:

  • You have a non-judgemental attitude and enjoy working with people of all backgrounds.
  • You have experience and expertise in the field of adult literacy.
  • You are able collaborate with staff and volunteers to help plan and set-up this project.
  • You have an understanding and sensitivity to the issues faced by those who have experienced homelessness, such as; poor mental health, social isolation, addiction.
  • You have an understanding of neurodiversity, in particular dyslexia and ADHD and are able to adapt your methods accordingly.
  • You are passionate about reading and can impart that passion to others.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • You have a sensitive, warm, friendly personality and are a good listener.
  • You are encouraging and can motivate a group.
  • You are patient and flexible and can adapt to the needs of a group.
  • You sensitive to the ability of others and the speed at which they feel comfortable reading.
  • You are responsible and dependable, taking pride in your work.
  • You have excellent communication skills and are able to give instructions in a clear and unambiguous manner.
  • You are self-sufficient and can work independently, but feel confident to ask questions should the need arise.
  • You are over 18 years old.

A Position You Will Love!

As a Literacy Group Volunteer Lead, you will:

  • Help plan, structure and deliver a weekly Literacy Group tailored to the needs of adults who have experienced homelessness.
  • Help create a calm and open space where participants feel safe to step outside their comfort zones.
  • Advise staff and volunteers on adult literacy methods and help develop the skills and knowledge of the Literacy Group Volunteer Assistant.
  • Recommend appropriate reading materials and resources.
  • Set up the space where the Literacy Group will take place, and help clear it up at the end. (This responsibility could be shared or delegated to the Literacy Group Assistant.
  • Welcome participants, making sure new members feel at ease.
  • Facilitate the sessions encouraging participation of all the members. Staff will provide guidance and resources to assist you with this.
  • Give feedback on the sessions and participate in periodic reviews.
  • Work with the groups to decide well in advance the reading materials for forthcoming sessions.
  • Liaise with staff to obtain enough copies of the chosen titles.

Do you have what it takes?

  • Are able to commit for a least a 3 month period.
  • Have at least 8-10 hours available hours a month to plan the group, liaise with staff, choose content and lead the sessions. (There would be some flexibility with this commitment in accordance with your availability).

We are guided by these shared values:

Community Improvement

Pride in Service

Optimistic attitude – We believe that anything is possible!

Why should you volunteer with Redbridge Libraries?

  • You’ll have a fabulous time!
  • You will increase your confidence/experience of dealing with the public in a professional setting.
  • You will learn or improve upon skills around customer care, confidentiality and health and safety.
  • You will gain valuable experience for your CV and a reference if you volunteer for more than 35 hours.
  • Personal satisfaction at helping fellow group members to access new literature, discover new authors and develop a new social activity.

Anything else you should know?

  • You will need to have a satisfactory Criminal Records Bureau check carried out. This is something we will arrange for you.
  • You will need to provide the contact details of two referees who are over 18, know you well but are not a member of your family.

Where and when you would be volunteering

  • You will volunteer at a Redbridge Central Library, facilitating a Literacy Group.
  • Initially you will have some time to collaborate with staff and volunteers to plan the sessions.
  • The sessions will run weekly and last around an hour and a half. You will need to allow time before the group starts to help set up and stay at the end to help pack down and give feedback on the group.
  • The sessions will run once a week on a weekday at 2pm, there is flexibility as to the day of the week, dependant on your availability.
  • All volunteers are placed initially on a one-month trial basis. Volunteers and activities are reviewed every six months.