Unlocking the power of reading

Not one but two guests on Girls Around Town this weekend – and for a change, they’re both men!!

On the phone to the studio, Ian Merrill and Graham Keal will be talking about the work done by Shannon Trust, a national charity that supports thousands of prisoners across the UK every year, transforming their lives by unlocking the power of reading.

First up at 10.20am it’s Ian, the charity’s chief executive since October 2020, who will be telling June when and why the charity was set up and explaining the ways in which it achieves its aims.

Then just after 11.20am it’s the turn of Newark-based Graham, one of the trust’s volunteers, who’ll be describing just what his own role involves.

Some 50 per cent of people that end up in prison either can’t read or struggle to do so, meaning their life chances are limited from the word go.

With the help of its volunteers, Shannon Trust inspires and trains prisoners who can read – known as mentors – to teach those who can’t so they’re better set up for a positive future.

For them, learning to read is so much more than just stories – it will completely transform their lives, giving them the ability to engage in life-changing opportunities through education and training and, equally importantly, helping them maintain relationships with their families and friends, which reduces rates of re-offending.

Make sure you’re tuned to 107.8FM or listening online throughout the show this Sunday to hear what Ian and Graham have to say…

And find out how Shannon Trust’s Turning Pages reading programme, created by literacy specialists, has been used by over 6,000 adult learners since its launch in June 2015

Have a heart

Did you hear Phil talking to Lucy Millard a couple of weeks ago about a major new fundraising campaign that’s just been launched by one of the best known – and best loved – charities based here in Newark?

If you missed it, don’t worry – her colleague Katherine Wright will be on the phone next weekend, this time to June on Girls Around Town, explaining just how you can keep Beaumond House in your heart…

As part of the campaign, Kat and the team will be working hard over the coming months to fill the hospice garden with little blue hearts.

Made by potter Karen Chesney of Norwell, they’ll be mounted on steel stems and put on display in the garden. Each heart will carry the name of the loved one being remembered, just like the one in the picture of four-year old Evie above, dedicated to the hospice’s former director John Oldham.

Their aim is to have 1,000 hearts in the garden by the autumn, after which they can be collected by the donors to keep, and the first orders have already started to arrive.

Make sure you’re tuned to 107.8FM or listening online from just after 11.10am next Sunday to find out how the campaign will help Beaumond House continue to care for more than 550 patients and their families every year…

And how you can support them in their work if you have a heart dedicated to the memory of someone special in your life.

Photograph by Claire Andrews, Little Posy Photography

A site to behold

If you were a member of the networking group Women in Newark, you may remember some years back an evening spent surrounded by beautiful blooms on a 1.5 acre eco site just up the road near Southwell.

A unique social enterprise run by local charity Reach Learning Disability,  the original Flower Pod still continues to offer people with learning disabilities the opportunity to enrich their lives through horticulture by taking part in activities which help them gain vital skills for a more independent life in the community.

Now there’s a new Flower Pod in town – right here in Newark, covering a whole 2.5 acres this time – and its development manager Christine Daniels will be on Girls Around Town next weekend to tell you all about what’s in store there…

Christine will be on the phone to June from just after 11.20am to explain more about the charity’s aims and activities and how she and the team are currently working to make Flower Pod Newark much more than just a place to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.

“We go into the garden for lots of reasons of course,” she says. “We go there looking for peace and tranquillity too and we’re planning to run a variety of courses, including perhaps a yoga class or two.

“My aspirations for this garden are huge – we already have two ponds and an orchard but with running water and a better building on the site, I feel the sky would be the limit.”

Tune in to 107.8FM or listen online from 10am to 12 noon next Sunday to hear more from Christine.

And in the meantime, for a sneak peak at this exciting new venture for Newark and Reach take a look at this short video…