Literacy initiative set to launch on North Yorkshire Coast

Our Stories initiative will be launched tomorrow.
Our Stories initiative will be launched tomorrow.

A new initiative to boost literacy levels in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey will be launched tomorrow.

A National Literacy Trust Hub will be set up on the North Yorkshire Coast and will be known as 'Our Stories'.

The official launch, on Thursday, will see a literacy-themed bus tour of the three towns to visit Caedmon College in Whitby, Ebor Academy in Filey and The Street community centre in Scarborough.

At each stop, pupils from local primary schools will climb on board the bus to enjoy an interactive storytelling session by Stephen Joseph Theatre practitioner Ceridwen Smith who will highlight the importance of literacy skills and inspire the pupils to read and tell stories.

Pupils will also be gifted a brand new book and an Our Stories bookmark to take home. The day will finish at The Street community centre, where key partners from across the area will gather to celebrate the launch.

North Yorkshire Coast Hub Manager, Liz Dyer, said: “This is an exciting time for the North Yorkshire Coast and a real opportunity to help raise aspirations in the area.

"We can’t wait to start building innovative partnerships with local businesses, libraries, schools and other organisations, and empowering local residents to champion literacy in their communities.

"If children can read, they can succeed, and that is what we want for every child in the area.”

The initiative has been created through a partnership between the National Literacy Trust and the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area.

A National Literacy Trust Hub aims to work within communities to tackle low literacy levels that are seriously impacting on people's lives, by working with local partners to create long lasting change.

The Hub will join a range of initiatives in the area to take on the challenge of poorer children falling behind before they start school.

Last year, half of disadvantaged children (50.8%) on the North Yorkshire Coast did not achieve a good development at age five, compared to 30% of their more advantaged peers.

The challenges also continue as pupils get older - 38.4% of children on the North Yorkshire Coast did not achieve the expected reading level at the end of primary school in 2017, which compares to just 28% of children nationally.

The Hub will encompass a range of projects and initiatives to give young people the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.

Activities will support three of the four priorities of the opportunity area: literacy, early years and ensuring there are more good secondary school places for young people.

National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas, said: “Our Hubs are a proven place-based solution to low literacy levels, using community mobilisation to change literacy attitudes and behaviours.

“We’re looking forward to working with partners make literacy a priority in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey, an area with such rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.

"Together we can inspire change through words and ensure that every young person on the North Yorkshire Coast has the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.”

There are already six other Hubs around the country including Bradford, Middlesbrough, Peterborough, Swindon, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent.