Bristol poet laureate finds words to help Computershare celebrate trailblazing reading buddies scheme

September 8, 2017

Bristol-based specialist financial services group Computershare has hosted a poetry reading masterclass by the city’s poet laureate Miles Chambers and eight schoolchildren to celebrate its work supporting pupils in local schools. 

Many staff from Computershare, South Bristol’s biggest employer, spend one lunch hour a week reading with primary pupils with the support of the charity Ablaze.

Over the past 12 years these ‘reading buddy volunteers’ have undertaken a total of more than 4,000 hours helping children.

To mark the achievement, Miles Chambers and the pupils read to Computershare employees at the firm’s office at The Pavilions on Bedminster Down. They chose poems from two books published by Ablaze and Intellect Books that collate work written by young people in Bristol.

Computershare global corporate communications director Lucy Newcombe, who initiated the business’s reading buddies scheme in 2005, said: “It was fantastic to have Miles and these pupils up to The Pavilions to share the amazing poetry they have written and talk with our employees about the role we play in our community.

“Computershare employs over 1,500 people in South Bristol and we’re very proud of the work we do locally – whether by supporting school pupils, providing employment and training or improving the environment by helping our staff travel more sustainably.”

Miles said: “These are talented kids whose creativity and promise is a credit to Bristol, and I’m proud to be able to help them out with their writing and champion their work.

“It’s great that there are organisations and individuals that are willing to support young people locally with their education, so thanks to both Computershare and Ablaze for the work that they do.”

Ablaze partnership manager Sally Ridley added: “It’s been wonderful to see these talented young pupils read from our poetry books and have a great Bristolian poet like Miles supporting our projects, which have made a huge difference to young people across the city over the last 17 years.

“Computershare and its staff have made a huge contribution to education locally over the years, and we’re very happy to celebrate their achievements in their community today.”

Computershare employees also help local children better understand maths, acting as Ablaze number partners at schools across South Bristol.

Schools that are part of the Reading Buddies scheme have reported increased attainment, better test results and higher confidence amongst the children involved in the scheme.

All reading buddies and number partners complete an enhanced disclosure and barring service (DBS) check and are given training sessions before they start to ensure that children get the most out of the experience.

Pictured: Bristol poet laureate Miles Chambers and Computershare global corporate communications director Lucy Newcombe with children at the firms poetry masterclass 


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