Last week I was lucky enough to accompany three of our Summer Reading Volunteers to Number 11 Downing Street for an event, hosted by Frances Osborne – author and wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer – to celebrate the large increase (nearly 50% more than the previous year) in the number of Summer Reading Challenge volunteers in 2012.
After informal photos were taken outside Number 10, Imogen, Aramide and Morenike had a more formal photo taken outside Number 11 with volunteers from around the country. Frances Osborne then welcomed us all to Number 11 and Miranda McKearney OBE, Director of The Reading Agency, talked about the importance of young people volunteering,the impact they have had on the children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and the benefit that volunteering has on the volunteers themselves.
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, then spoke about the Social Action Fund and how it has been supporting an increase in youth volunteering, followed by some volunteers discussing their experience over the summer.
Here are some thoughts on their experiences of volunteering and on the event from our volunteers Imogen, Aramide and Morenike:
“I was really pleased to hear that the volunteering had a positive influence on other young people like it did on me, through confidence building and learning of the importance of reading and libraries to education.” Morenike
“It was great to see so many young people with such great ambition and the drive to help make a difference in the life of a child through reading. Furthermore it was inspiring to hear how volunteering through the Summer Reading Challenge had helped change the lives of volunteers themselves. If the opportunity comes along, I would definitely volunteer again; amazing overall experience.” Aramide
“I was thinking of… a boy I talked to who had just come over from Spain a few months ago, and he was still learning English, but he managed to coherently and passionately talk about two books – it was really inspirational to listen to him and it also got me thinking about doing something else to help foreign children in the UK.” Imogen
You can view more pictures from the day on Flickr: Summer Reading Challenge volunteer celebration at Number 11 Downing Street.