Above - Megan, with Mark Harper MP, spreading the word at a recent Careers Fair.

Kris at a photo call (above) organised by the Forest of Dean District Council to bring together some of the recipients of the community grants.

Talking Books Project

FRED was recently awarded a £500 community grant from the Forest of Dean District Council. This money is being used to fund a project working with Forest Talk to record our current stock of readers which will enable our learners to practise their reading skills at home.   

USBs have been bought and the recording sessions have begun with several of our reading coaches giving up their time to help. More recording sessions are planned and there are also plans to produce workbooks to go alongside the recorded books.


Above - Sheila with other recipients of  money donated by Severn Dean Lions to several local charities. FRED Management Team member Ann Kent is also there representing another charity - very busy lady!


From the Gloucester Citizen

25th February 2015


Right said FRED – who’s reading?

It’s not something that is talked about often but many adults find reading difficult, for whatever reason.  This can have a negative effect on personal relationships, job prospects and in so many other ways. Imagine not being able to read your child a bedtime story or not being able to read the instructions on medication prescribed by the doctor.


Help is at hand

FRED – Forest Read Easy Deal – is an award-winning local charity that provides free, confidential, one-to-one coaching for adults throughout the Forest of Dean. FRED matches learners with trained coaches and typically they meet for two thirty minute sessions each week at a time and place that suit them both. Lessons are confidential so anyone can learn comfortably at their own pace.

And FRED is free.

Do you know an adult in the Forest of Dean who would like to improve their reading?  If so tell them about FRED.

You can find out more on the website forestreadeasydeal.org.uk or send an email to info@forestreadeasydeal.org.uk

The mobile number is 07746 371353

Extension Training Session
This took place recently in Cinderford and was an opportunity for coaches and prospective coaches to share their experiences. There was a lovely atmosphere in the room as coaches chatted and discussed ways to develop their coaching skills and worked together on ideas for activities to support reading.
Kris also gave an update on FRED’s current projects and plans for the future.  
Katrina’s home-made cake added to a very enjoyable and productive morning!

On the left: Bill Gayler and Jon Beales from Forest Talk who have provided the equipment and expertise.

Above: volunteers Steph, Fiona, Pleas and Ruby about to start the recordings.

Above: Sheila and Janet with Waitrose staff receiving a large cheque (!) for £185 raised from the company’s Community Matters green token scheme.

Yorkley Community Centre
FRED was pleased to be part of the official opening of the new Yorkley Community Centre on 18th April.  Hundreds of people turned out to admire the brand new centre which includes a large main hall., a room for smaller meetings as well as an office and  kitchen.
The FRED stall attracted a lot of interest and several people were keen to attend the next coach training.  Many leaflets were given out which hopefully will encourage new learners to come forward.
It’s great to have a new venue  available for our 1:1 pairs and we also hope to use it for the training of our new reading coaches.

Ann and Kris at the Coleford Busking Festival

Above: Kris, Vron and Jennifer
Ann says:
“Kris and I had a good day yesterday at the Busking Festival. Quite a lot of interest from would-be volunteers and learners!
It was a great venue, the day flew past the music was good to great and the sun shone and Jennifer, bless her heart turned up with a flask of coffee.
All in all a really good FRED experience!”
If you have any events
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Development Training and Tea Party
Kris recently ran a very successful Development Training session at the Forest Community Church, where 10 reading coaches worked in small groups to create some activities to go alongside our audio books.  
After a lively and productive couple of hours, afternoon tea was served as a thank you to all concerned. The sun shone and it was a lovely way to end the afternoon, chatting and enjoying the delicious home-made cakes!
Afternoon Tea in the Sunshine!

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Additional Training Session

22nd February 2016




There was a good turnout for the session and some very positive feedback.  Click the links below if you would like to look at some of the handouts.

The programme for the session included:






Additional Training and Tea Party

18th July 2016





The latest additional training session focused on getting started with writing - considering some of the skills involved and the resources available. It was a lively session and the coaches enjoyed sharing experiences and working together on the group activities.


One of the handouts was a writing checklist which helps to identify the skills with which a learner feels confident and which ones require more practice.  


The Tea Party after the training session also went well – the weather was once again on our side and it gave everyone a chance to relax  and chat in pleasant surroundings.  



New Coach Training Session November 2016

A successful training day for 10 new reading coaches was held recently at the Town House in Coleford.

Additional Training Session


The recent reading coach meeting was really well attended by newly trained and more experienced coaches.  Coaches shared their experiences in small groups and we heard some great stories about learner success.  There was also a 'hands on' activity on how to get the best from these resources.  The Q & A session enabled coaches to discuss various challenges and to come up with some solutions. One of the main things which came out of the discussions is how diverse our learners are!  


Evaluations suggested coaches would have liked more time looking at resources, so we'll run another session in a couple of months.  




After the training session, more coaches and some of the management team joined us for tea and cakes. Chair, Roger Deeks, then led a short AGM.


Kris talked about our proposed launch of FRED+ which we hope will broaden our offer to a wider group of learners. Willing coaches will work with learners on extended reading activities tailored to each individual. Early writing skills will also be available. We are planning to revamp our existing publicity material and shared a draft copy of our leaflet to gauge opinion. Feedback was generally positive so watch this space.   


Janet, our Treasurer outlined the financial position and reported on a number of grants received from local organisations. There have been constant financial pressures on FRED, many of which have been alleviated by the voluntary efforts of coaches and committee members.


Roger outlined statistics and evidence demonstrating the continuing need for FRED.  The Trustees’ responsibilities were outlined and three were elected. The Chair invited anyone who was interested in being a Trustee, supporting the work of the committee, or who had a question about governance to contact Jennifer (Secretary) or Roger (Chair). Roger thanked the Committee, made up of Kris, Sheila, Megan, Janet, Ann and Jennifer for their hard work and commitment over the last year. Lastly the coaches, who volunteer so much time, were thanked as without their support FRED would not be possible.



Additional Training and AGM

13th March 2017






The ‘launch event’ at Forest Community Church on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 was really well attended and made the local press - see below.  FRED PLUS is our response to increasing demand to include extended reading activities and early writing skills.


Our Chair, Roger Deeks opened the event and Kris, our trainer,  gave a brief overview of the rationale for FRED Plus and what it will offer for current and potential learners. Lady Bathurst then officially launched FRED Plus. She has held a lifelong interest in adult literacy work and has supported literacy development in prison education.

One of our learners, Sabrina, gave a brief talk about her book The White Giant, which she has written and published with the help of her coach Katrina.  

Below are some newspaper articles about Sabrina and the launch along with an editorial.




1st November 2017 - held at Forest Community Church


The purpose of the session was:


Click on the link below to open the handout on

Using Language Experience to help your learner:

Language Experience Instructions.docx


The YouTube video on the right is one mentioned in

the handout.



23rd May 2018 - held at Forest Community Church


The aim of the session was to introduce the new Turning Pages Reading Scheme and to give reading coaches an opportunity to explore the manuals and the reading books.


Click on the links below to open the handouts:


Turning Pages Overview

Turning Pages - Key Information

Examples of Multisensory Activities



24th September 2018 - held at Forest Community Church


This was a very well attended session which concentrated on choosing and using resources to support Turning Pages.  The workshop offered a range of activities and ideas for effective use of the Reading Books that accompany the manuals. The coaches had a chance to look at other graded reading books and activity sheets to consider how they complement the Turning Pages programme.


Click on the link below to open the handout:


Using reading books and everyday texts

Training and AGM 2019


Since the beginning of the year Kris has run 3 training sessions. The first one was for trained coaches in March at the Forest Community Church.  This concentrated on the Turning Pages scheme, discussing the things coaches have found useful and any challenges they have encountered along the way.   As always the coaches appreciated the opportunity to discuss issues amongst themselves and to look more closely at some of our resources.


In May, there was an initial training course for new coaches,held at the Town House in Coleford.  Ten potential volunteers attended and one of our reading coaches, Anne Holt, came along to talk about her FRED experience which I think everyone found very useful.



The latest additional training session was in September when we combined it with our AGM.  Andrew Taylor, a well -known local author, was invited along for a Q&A session about what reading has meant to him.  It was a trip down memory lane for some of us as he talked about his early reading of 'Janet and John’ and the Noddy books! A lovely spread was provided by committee members Jennifer and Janet.  


Ian Storrar, President of Royal Forest of Dean Rotary and his colleague John Freeman attended and were thanked by Roger for their kind donation of £500.  




The training session followed the AGM and there were small group discussions on challenges and achievements as well as how to use the learners’ own experiences to create resources. The feedback on the session was very positive and there were some good sound bites which we can use for publicity purposes!

Language Experience Handout



News and Events


'Where there's a will there's a way!'

Anne Holt had been meeting with her learner for over a year when lockdown happened and their weekly face to face meetings had to stop. Anne had a good relationship with her learner who was keen to carry on developing her reading and writing skills.

" We agreed to keep in touch with weekly phone calls and carry on working as best we could. Initially working on the exercises in the Turning Pages manual was successful as we both had a copy. However, what was missing was our shared/supported reading of books as we did not have the more than one copy of any book.


This is when I started recording passages from a book onto a simple voice recorder, then passing the book and recording to my learner for her to use independently. She used it in a variety of ways listening then reading along and also trying to read the words before I said them. It gave her independence in practising her reading whilst giving her confidence in reading words she was unsure of and a sense of achievement. It also corrected any misconceptions of words so that the correct version was always being reinforced.

We also found it useful for recording pages in the Talking Pages manual as we had reached a stage where the words were more difficult for her to work out and although I could help over the phone, the recording gave added reinforcement when she was practising on her own."




However we are acutely aware of the reduced employment opportunities, especially for people who have difficulty with reading and we have been planning an expansion of our offer to enrol new learners so we can help more residents become fluent readers/overcome reading challenges

The restrictions imposed by COVID19 challenge us to provide a safe working environment and we need additional resources to help more people. We need more learning materials, coaches and training in new ways of working, as well as PPE. Training will also need to include ways we can take advantage of technology to compensate for the reduced face to face working.

We are delighted to announce that we have received generous support from the West Dean Parish Council who have approved our application for a Community Grant to help new learners. This means we not only have funds to provide additional equipment/training for our current working pairs but will also be able to offer a safe, high quality, confidential service for new learners.



FRED is committed to supporting and engaging learners in the Forest of Dean who want to improve their reading and writing skills but COVID19 has presented a huge challenge. Our primary concern has been to find ways of supporting our current learner/coach pairs, so they can continue working safely without their regular face to face meetings.