I am the Business Coordinator here at BBC Bristol and the volunteer coordinator for our reading buddies, as well as being a reading buddy myself.
I have been volunteering as a reading buddy now for 4 years, attending St Michael's on the Mount Primary School one lunchtime a week. It is nice to get a break from work, step into a different environment and really feel like you're making a difference. As someone who enjoys reading myself, you get a sense of achievement in helping a child so that it becomes an enjoyable activity for them too. It is also a good opportunity to read your own childhood favourites with your reading buddy, and an excuse to read them again yourself!
The training and support provided by Ablaze, the charity we partner with for the scheme, is really inspiring and brings it home how worthwhile giving just one hour of your time every week (or every other week) is, and the difference it can make to a child and their education. As it only requires such a small proportion of your time each week there really is no excuses for not signing up to volunteer.
At the Ablaze Awards this year I was very honoured to receive an award for my 'positive impact, outstanding contribution made and maintaining a high level of support for St Michael's on the Mount Primary School. It was really lovely to receive this award, especially as it's for something that I enjoy doing and I'm proud to be part of.
BBC Bristol has 9 fantastic reading buddy volunteers reading with 8 pupils in years 3 and 4 at St Michael's on the Mount, but we always need more volunteers!
*BBC Outreach and Corporate Responsibility connects the BBC with its audiences, particularly those often considered harder to reach. Reading schemes allow our staff to get to know people living in the communities where they work and benefit our younger neighbours.