£500 from the Co-operative Society financed a pilot. The first two learners and volunteer Reading Coaches made quick progress and highlighted the benefits of short regular one-to-one learning sessions for the learner and the Reading Coach.
Local businesses and voluntary organisations donated learning space so that learning pairs had a safe and private place in which to learn.
Inspired by our first learner we trained our first group of Reading Coaches in Cinderford in November 2010 and had no difficulty in finding new learners for them to work with. A large Lottery grant in March 2011 enabled FRED to recruit more coaches and further training sessions were run in Cinderford and Lydney. In January 2013 we were able to expand our provision by running another training session in Coleford. To date we have trained over 60 coaches and helped about 35 people in the Forest learn to read.
FRED was started in April 2010 by Julie Carthy, a teacher and adult dyslexia specialist, who lives near Cinderford.
Julie knew that the most difficult people to reach are those who do not read. Her vision was for good quality reading support that had to be one-to-one, fit in with learners' lives and be easy to access.
In order to make the learning free, flexible and one-to-one Julie decided to find local people who could read and who were willing and able to help others and to train them to become reading coaches.