22 February 2024

Chapter One to expand to Birmingham in 2024

Chapter One's expansion to Birmingham offers businesses the opportunity to work collaboratively with schools to improve the skills of local young people

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50% of wards in Birmingham are in the top 10% of literacy need in England

Chapter One is launching into Birmingham in September 2024, and we are delighted to announce our first three founding partners - Mace Dragados, Fieldfisher and Clyde & Co. We are very excited to transform more children's futures with one-to-one reading support at the time they need it most.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that levels of literacy are strongly related to households and are intensely local, depending on the neighbourhood in which people live. Urban areas often face the biggest challenges and Birmingham is no exception. End Child Poverty data for 2021-22 shows that 46.4% of children live in poverty in Birmingham and an earlier study showed that 50% of wards in Birmingham rank in the top 10% of literacy need in England*. Neighbouring areas of the West Midlands such as Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall are included in the government’s designated Education Investment Areas.

Above average child poverty levels and low literacy rates in Birmingham require a place-based, cross-sector approach to tackle them. By pledging support for Chapter One’s expansion to Birmingham in 2024-25, businesses can be part of a corporate social responsibility or social value programme with measurable impact. By giving just 30 minutes a week to read online with a child, Chapter One volunteers help children from schools in disadvantaged communities fall in love with reading at the beginning of their educational journey.

Children who read are more likely to overcome education and other disadvantage caused by inequalities; are more likely to be happier, healthier and experience better mental wellbeing and self-esteem; more likely to do better at school; and make more progress across the curriculum. They are also more likely to develop empathy and creativity.

“We are very excited that Chapter One is expanding into Birmingham and transforming more children's futures with one-to-one reading support at the time they need it most,” says Emma Bell, Chapter One’s executive director. “There is great demand for our online reading volunteers from schools in the area and we encourage businesses to step forward and join our programme which delivers long-term impact."

*National Literacy Trust and Experian (2017)

Get involved!
We need more partners and volunteers for Birmingham schools, so do get in touch if you want to know more. Our flexible, online volunteering model means your volunteers can be located anywhere in the UK.

Contact Sarah Taylor, our Business Development Manager, at sarah.taylor@chapterone.org to find out more.

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Chapter One's Online Reading Volunteer programme connects schools and families with corporate volunteers. These volunteers spend 30 minutes reading online with the same child each week. From a business's perspective, Chapter One's time-efficient, flexible model for online volunteering enhances a company's employee engagement, whilst fulfilling CSR and social value commitments around education, social mobility and inclusion.