The Readings Foundation grant recipients for 2019

The Readings Foundation has announced $146,700 worth of grants to support a range of projects and organisations within Victoria in 2019.

The Readings Foundation assists Victorian organisations that support the development of literacy, community integration and the arts. Readings donates 10% of its overall profit to the Foundation each year, and the kind donations from Readings’ customers make a crucial contribution. This year, the Readings Foundation has chosen to allocate funding to organisations that are delivering strong literacy and education support to the most disadvantaged people in our community.

The Readings Foundation received 34 applications this year and is pleased to award grants to the following nine organisations…

Aboriginal Literacy Foundation – $20,000

At the present time, the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation (ALF) provides tutorials and after school mentoring for Aboriginal children in the inner city suburbs of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Footscray. These programs are based on schools using facilities out of hours, however there have been some unanticipated problems with their implementation, partly due to the programs attracting attention from non-indigenous children, which has resulted in some racism and bullying. In response, the ALF plans to start an After School Program based at the Docklands Centre. The establishment of a separate non-school based program is attractive to young indigenous Australians with literacy difficulties, who are no longer at school. The convenience of Docklands is also of benefit to tutors and Aboriginal Elders/parents who have offered to play a mentoring role in the program.

Ballarat Foundation – $19,700

This grant will support the Ballarat Foundation’s family literacy intervention that targets teen-parents and infants 0-5 years in the Yuille Park Community College Young Parents Program, Wendouree Victoria. The locale is in the top 5% of most disadvantaged Victorian postcode areas. Leveraging the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, their project will provide 18 Imagination Library places over a five-year time-frame. It is designed to improve parent and child literacy, crucial to reducing inter-generational barriers to socio-economic inclusion and education. Reading to infants is an early-education intervention that can inspire a life-long love of literature and increase prospects for academic and life success. Funding will place a children’s book monthly into the hands of a teen-parent juggling school and parenting responsibilities, establishing a home-reading regime.

Banksia Gardens Community Service – $20,000

The Readings Foundation is continuing its support for a third year of the highly successful Banksia Gardens Aiming High VCE Support Program. This program is for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Broadmeadows and Craigieburn. Weekly after-school study sessions assist students completing years 11 and 12 (VCE) to overcome barriers to achieve their best at school. Aiming High has built a reputation within the local school communities as a program that not only helps young people achieve in the VCE years, but supports students to develop a range of skills to help them progress in life.

Church of All Nations – $20,000

The Church of All Nations (CAN) Family Learning Program was established in 2007 to provide a service to families from the Carlton housing estates. The program caters for primary and secondary students and their families. Most of the families live on the Carlton housing estates and many families are first or second generation Australians from the Horn of Africa. The program provides a supportive out-of-school learning environment where students can participate in activities that help them to develop their academic skills. It works in partnership with families who contribute to the program and are encouraged to attend and be part of learning activities for the younger children. It also aims to support the work of local schools to ensure that students attain good levels of numeracy and literacy.

Kids Under Cover – $5,000

Families supported by Kids Under Cover (KUC) typically struggle to meet the basic costs of schooling in addition to essential daily household costs. Without the basics needed for school, a young person can feel isolated and if they become disengaged, they are at risk of dropping out of school early or altogether. With education a known pathway out of poverty, disengagement can be devastating. A KUC scholarship can be a critical intervention in the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. These scholarships are available to young people aged between 15-25 living in KUC studios (as well as their siblings). Their purpose is to help offset basic educational expenses, reducing a family’s financial burden, as well as enabling young people at risk or those who have dropped out of school due to domestic and personal upheaval to re-engage with education and training.

Mallee Family Care – $10,000

Mildura Primary School (MPS) and Mallee Family Care (MFC) formed a partnership to provide a learning support program outside of school hours that strengthens the reading skills, confidence and academic achievement of students from refugee backgrounds. MPS has over 60 students with a language background other than English (e.g. Afghani, Khmer, Kirundi, Samoan, Swahili, Tongan and Vietnamese). Students from refugee backgrounds have lower literacy levels than mainstream peers and lack reading skills to keep up with the curriculum. Teachers struggle to address these significant needs while many families from refugee backgrounds lack confidence in their ability to support their child’s literacy at home. This grant will help support MFC to assist vulnerable refugee students and will hopefully increase the students' connection with the local community.

Parkville College – $20,000

Parkville College is a specialist Victorian Government School that provides education to students who are, or have been, detained in custody. These students represent some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the state. The college sees an extreme over-representation of students who are not yet reading at an age-appropriate level. Furthermore, most of their students are the victims of abuse, trauma or neglect and are considered disabled under Department of Education policy because of their severe behaviour. With no internet access, students at Parkville College are reliant upon what teachers bring into classrooms, and due to the nature of the school, books cannot be shared between campuses. This grant will allow the college the capacity to replenish their library, which in turn allows exiting students to keep books upon their request, supporting their literacy engagement.

The Smith Family – $12,000

Let’s Read is a national early years literacy program supported by the Smith Family that promotes reading to children aged 0-5 years living in disadvantaged communities. Research shows that a third of children from disadvantaged families begin school behind their peers and that childhood literacy levels affects opportunities later in life, such as education, employment, income and health and well-being. Let’s Read is an evidence-based program that develops the ability of Early Years Community Professionals, parents and carers to share words, stories and books with young children, providing the tools for families and communities to establish the building blocks for literacy and a love of books.

The Wheeler Centre – $20,000

The Readings Foundation will continue to support the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowships for the eighth year in a row. This program creates opportunities for 20 talented writers by enabling them to pursue their writing at a dedicated desk at the Wheeler Centre for ten weeks, supported by a $1,000 stipend for each writer. Over the years, many Hot Desk alumni have published works that have ended up on the Readings shelves.

Find out more about the Readings Foundation here.

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