Young teenagers recruited to help run Sunderland libraries

Councillor John Kelly

Councillor John Kelly

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CREATIVE youngsters are being urged to visit their local library as part of a new scheme to boost reading and writing skills.

The My Voice scheme, funded by the Big Lottery and managed by the Reading Agency, is a three-year project created to give 13 to 14-year-olds an active role in running libraries, while improving their literacy.

The main focus of the project includes the creation of reading and writing hubs, programmes of creative events and online spaces where volunteers can connect, as well as providing accredited volunteering opportunities.

In the last year, My Voice has organised roadshows and other events across Sunderland, as well as inviting comic artists to come into the library and work with young people.

They have also helped utilise Facebook, Twitter and blogs to publicise the scheme.

Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said he was delighted Sunderland City Council could be part of the scheme as it is important to develop space outside of school where young people can go and develop their reading and writing skills.

“We are delighted to see the scheme making a difference and achieving its purpose of encouraging young people to get involved in the city and libraries.

“We understand the vital role reading and writing has within the education of our young people and we will continue to give them as many chances as possible to explore their own talents and develop their skills.”

One volunteer, Daisy Gardner Hall, 14, from South Hylton said: “I love volunteering at the library. Meeting others with the same passion for reading makes me want to inspire others and get them involved. I have even managed to recruit some school friends.”

Rema Malik, 19, from Millfield, said: “I help to manage the My Voice Twitter account and it really gets me thinking about how social media is becoming a massive part of how we should be promoting My Voice and the events we do.

“When we held the roadshow in Herrington Park, we saw a massive increase in followers after talking to people and showing them how they can get involved, all because they love reading.”

There are two My Voice groups at the City Library or Washington Town Centre Library.

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