The Link Newsletter February 2021
Registration: Public Benefit Organisation


Message from our Co-ordinator

What a strange world we are living in. The only thing of which we can be certain is change!
2020 was the 10th year of operation for The Link and we had great plans to expand on our 19 centres. We were also very encouraged by the record number of volunteers who were involved. Then came Covid and we had to cease operations. We had expectations that we would restart at various times during last year but even now, we are unsure and are possibly looking at mid-year …. or even later!

Bearing in mind that our model involves face to face contact with the children, we cannot commit to a definite starting date but we do want to assure you that The Link plans to continue. We also anticipate that once the schools open, the need will be greater than ever.

During lockdown we tried to be proactive and undertook the following initiatives, amongst others:
  • A list of websites was compiled offering lesson plans that would be appropriate for the teachers to use in class.
  • We enlisted the help of pro bono psychologists/counsellors, and made this service available to school staff and management who felt they weren’t coping. This is ongoing.
  • Appropriate stories (some of which were written by our volunteers) and which require low data were recorded and illustrated and are available for distribution
  • We created a series of Simple Sounds’ clips, based on the cards, which again only require minimal data. 
  • Numeracy exercises were created each week for circulation to the children.
So we reach out to you all to ask you to remain supportive and committed to a cause which is so vital – teaching essential literacy and numeracy skills to children.

Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy year ahead and please stay safe!

Plans for the Year Ahead

At this stage, we are unsure when we will be allowed back into schools and what form this will take.  We have explored various scenarios, and with Covid initially, still expected to play a major role, the most likely scenario will be an adapted, simplified teaching programme with a smaller group of volunteers – those who are happy to return.  This would focus on children who are pre-readers and in need of the most help.  We will be consulting with each school individually as soon as they are open, in terms of what is possible and how we can help within the constraints that the ongoing pandemic presents.

Digital Resources

We have put a lot of work into translating some of our resources into a digital format.  These have been designed to allow material to be delivered to parents’ phones via WhatsApp using minimal data.  The resources were made available to schools, were sent out to individual learners on The Link programme and distributed to other interested parties. Going forward the digital resources will be available for teachers to send out to parents where children are struggling and need reinforcement. 
Select the video link to see an example of one of our digital resources

Support for our Partner Schools

We have continued to stay in contact with our partner schools and offer whatever support we can to teachers and management.  Being aware of the huge amount of stress placed on teachers in the current situation, we enlisted the help of registered psychologists who offered to consult pro bono with any teaching staff or school management needing additional support during these difficult times.  

Literacy Co-ordinator

Maggie Fussell has taken on the role of Literacy Co-ordinator.  Maggie has volunteered at our HA Jack centre for a number of years.  She is a qualified remedial teacher and has also done some teacher training for The British Council.  She is passionate about education, and we are truly fortunate that she is part of the team at The Link.

Developing Online Training Material for Volunteers

Whilst 2020 brought many negatives, it has enabled and upskilled so many people in the use of online resources.  Building on this, we have made the decision to develop online training resources for our volunteers.  Designed as a series of short, easily accessible video based modules, we aim to cover all aspects of how The Link programme works.  It is hoped that this will become a valuable resource for both new volunteers and existing volunteers in the future.
The Link is represented as a beneficiary on the global fundraising platform GivenGain. This allows supporters to donate easily from anywhere in the world.  It also gives people the opportunity to set up their own fundraising campaigns with The Link as a beneficiary.  This is very easy to do and can be anything from a once off donation, to donations in lieu of birthday gifts, to support/ sponsorship for competing in a sporting event.

Please support us by listing us as a beneficiary for the MySchool Card scheme. There can be more than one beneficiary linked to a card. For more information, please visit the My School card website.
Copyright © 2021 The Link Literacy Project, All rights reserved.

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