A BRADFORD based literacy charity, which is currently celebrating its 20th year, has announced that it will be merging with a national charity.

Reading Matters will join children’s literacy charity Beanstalk as part of a move members say will allow it to reach more young people who need support with their reading.

In its two decades Reading Matters has helped tens of thousands of young people in secondary schools through one to one reading sessions and mentoring schemes. In the last academic year alone the charity helped almost 6,500 children in Yorkshire. Ten hours of one to one reading support from a Reading Matters’ trained Mentor can improve a child’s reading age by an average of 13 months.

National charity Beanstalk, which carries out similar work in primary schools and early years settings around the country, reached 11,000 children in the same period.

The Reading Matters staff have just transferred to Beanstalk, and its programmes have now become Beanstalk programmes.

Rachel Kelly, current CEO of Reading Matters, has become Director of Local Services for Beanstalk. She said: “We are very proud of our impact and the difference we make to young people’s life chances. This merger with Beanstalk will strengthen our programmes and resources and enable us to support even more children and young people who are struggling with reading.

“We are very much looking forward to growing the volunteer base, developing our programmes and changing the lives of many more children and young people.”

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk, said: “Both Beanstalk and Reading Matters want to help children and young people to become confident readers and the more reluctant or struggling readers we’re reaching, the better.”

Amy Mortimer, former Reading Matters and now Area Manager for Yorkshire, said that young people in Bradford would not see much change in the service, but the merger would expand the group’s horizons.

She said: “The same volunteers will remain in schools, and the merger won’t change our relationship with schools. All the programmes will still exist, they will just be managed by Beanstalk now. I think the merger will really help us. We are now part of a stronger, bigger network.”