Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
Gas Networks Ireland have been involved with the Time to Read primary school programme since 2012 and are still currently in partnership with Scoil Aiséirí Chríost in Cork and Mother of Divine Grace Primary in Dublin. To date, 150 employee volunteers from Gas Networks Ireland have generously given their time to give one-on-one reading support to 2nd class children.
Children who leave school with inadequate literacy skills can face a lifetime of disadvantage, but with the right support and encouragement at a young age this can be avoided. Time to Read focuses on 2nd class children in particular as it has been proven, during the programme’s external pilot evaluation, to be the age at which the support has the biggest impact.
John McSweeney, the Gas Networks Ireland Time to Read coordinator has seen this impact first-hand in Cork;
“Our partnership with Scoil Aiséirí Chríost has developed and grown beyond professional and matured into personal. This is very important to both GNI and the volunteers. One of our core principles is people, and the warm and friendly welcome we receive from the pupils and staff in Scoil Aiséirí Chríost enhances this principle, making the volunteers proud to be involved.”
Diane Beckingham, the BITCI Time to Read coordinator for the Scoil Aiséirí Chríost and Gas Networks Ireland partnership commented on how the relationship has grown since 2015;
“The partnership between Scoil Aiséirí Chríost and Gas Networks Ireland is one of the longest running links in the country, going strong for 9 years now. The Time to Read programme is so valued and entrenched in the school now, it actually forms part of their school literacy plan. The feedback from the volunteers over the years always comments on how welcoming and friendly the school is, with an incredibly positive and encouraging atmosphere. Volunteers feel they come away from their reading sessions feeling re-energised and buoyed up with “a feel good factor!” The site tour is of course a great highlight of the programme for the children, the trip down to the city centre in the bus, coming into the impressive Gasworks Road office building, getting to see where their reading buddies sit and work, the massive boardroom, seeing the grid control room with it’s vast array of computers and alarms and of course being so well fed at lunchtime! The volunteers always look forward to this visit as well, seeing the excitement and wonderment of the children, not to mention the very generous gifting from the children, of a most wonderful cake, beautifully decorated with a Time to Read theme. It’s a great day out for all and just a part of the strong and impactful on-going relationship which we all hope will continue for many years to come.”