Only Takes an Hour a Week to Make a Difference

I’ve been volunteering with Lead since December 2014. I’m a psychology tutor with the Open University.

Why did I start volunteering?

I set myself the goal of learning more about literacy development across the board, to supplement a qualification I was working towards. To this end, I approached Lead to gain some hands-on work experience. I’ve gained so much from just an hour a week – and hopefully so have my learners!

I came with some experience of working with disabled adults but no experience of literacy support at all. I have been very well supported by the charity every step of the way and have had the pleasure of working with learners on a weekly basis.

What do I do?

I spend my hour a week on a one-to-one basis with a learner either in their home or in a meeting room, which Lead organises.
I’m given material to use each week. I soon started also making up my own materials, which reflected my skills and the learners’ interests. With my first learner this included listening and drawing large letters in the air with our fingers to letter related songs on YouTube. We also took pictures of playdoh letters, which we made to further support letter recognition.

My second learner is more advanced and I have been helping her work toward an SVQ Level 3 reading qualification. My out-of-date SVQ knowledge was brought up to speed by attending an in-house SVQ course. I keep an eye out for articles that I think will be enjoyed to practice reading skills.

What else is involved?

Lead keeps me right on what paperwork to complete each week, so that there is a record of what has been done.

Getting my travel expenses back has been an unexpected bonus – I feel I should be paying Lead!

Ta spelled out in play doh

Basia McDougall, April 2016.
Lead Transition Volunteer, Aberdeenshire.