- Sixteen volunteers from the Cork office took part in the Time to Read programme with children in a local school.
- The programme lasted 20 weeks and included a visit by the kids to the Arup office and the local library.
- Arup also sponsored the provision of new books to the school with our project partners, Business in the Community Ireland
What is Time to Read?
The Time to Read Programme is designed to allow staff at participating businesses to volunteer to foster a love of reading in children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The programme is aimed at students aged 8 to 9 to assist them to:
- Increase their enjoyment of reading
- Increase confidence in reading
- Improve and encourage self-discovery
- Improve fluency and comprehension when reading
In Arup Cork a squad of 16 staff volunteered to take part in the programme at the Sundays Well Boys National School, located approximately 30 minutes’ walk from the Arup office. The squad team of 16 were divided into two teams of 8, and each team carried out ten reading sessions with the kids at the school (over ten weeks). The reading sessions lasted one hour (split between two children) each Thursday morning, starting at 9.30 am. In this way, 16 children were provided with half-hour reading sessions over 20 weeks, starting in October 2015 and finishing in May 2016.
Prior to the start of the programme, the squad members received training from the programme co-ordinators (Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) – the key message to the volunteers was to try to show the children the joy of reading (we were not expected to teach them to read). Therefore the emphasis was on the fun of the story and the pleasure that a good book can bring.
The Arup volunteers were: Aisling Hahessy, Alexandra Fleming, Barry Yelverton, Clifford Killeen, Colm Casey, Con O’Flynn, Emer Nic Aoidh, Fiona Patterson, Helena Jackson, Jen Meade, Joanna O’Brien, Padraig Coakley, Ria Lyden, Shauna Hurley, Stephen Sisk, Susan Kelleher and Matthew Whelton.
In March 2016 the Arup volunteers and the children paid a visit Hollyhill Library, during which the children joined the library and borrowed their first books.
Another highlight of the program was an arranged visit to the Arup Cork office for all the children in March 2016. The children were given a tour of the office, were presented with an overview of the work of Arup and were introduced to many of the Arup technical teams, before participating in an engineering challenge, using play materials such as pasta and marshmallows to build structures and vehicles. The kids loved this - one child was heard to whisper “I don’t ever want to leave this building!” – perhaps taking things slightly too far!
The programme has been declared a huge success by the kids, the school management, BITCI and the Arup volunteers. We are hoping to participate again in Autumn 2016.