I’m new to Dyslexia Action. I began my role as Community Fundraising Executive just two weeks ago and I’ve been tasked to bring people together on a local level and to form a network of supporter groups all over the UK. This is no mean feat! ‘How’s it been going?’ I hear you cry. Glad you asked...
What’s the word from Dyslexia Action centres?
I’ve been calling Dyslexia Action centres in England, Wales and Scotland to talk about volunteering and it’s really exciting to hear that some centres are already supported by small groups of eager volunteers. I’ve been hearing about successful bag packs and Community Matters applications in Waitrose, collection box drives, and other centres have held open days and manned stalls at Christmas/Summer fairs.
The First Supporter Group
Some centres have mentioned particularly proactive volunteers whose commitment to raising awareness or funds for Dyslexia Action is nothing short of inspirational. In particular, last week I spoke with one volunteer called Emma Seymour, whose 8-year-old son Elliot has dyslexia, and she is more than keen to setup our very first supporter group in Haywards Heath.
This was such an educational conversation for me to have. Emma talked to me about what it was like when she and her partner discovered that Elliot had dyslexia and just how daunting the prospect of explaining dyslexia to a young child can be. As a result, together she and Elliot wrote Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for Families, a fantastic booklet which you can download for free parentchampions.org.uk/wp-c...
Emma outlined what she hoped to offer with a group for supporters – a private space where people could come and share their experience of dyslexia with other empathic attendees. Emma wants to be able to offer support by sharing knowledge and resources. And what a fantastic idea – supporters, all living with or supporting someone with dyslexia, helping and empowering each other through face-to-face conversations that start ‘Hey, did you know that…’.
Teething Problems – finding a venue
I promised Emma that I would do the following things:
•Find a free, local, private space where her group could meet
•Draft a list of contacts that people might need to gain information about their own circumstances
•Start gathering resources that attendees might find immediately useful in their own lives
I thought I’d quickly be able to tick the venue problem off my list… I was wrong. I’ve rung schools, churches, volunteer support organisations, the local council – no-one wants to give me something for nothing! I’ll have to persevere, I’m sure someone wilier than I would find somewhere for free. Perhaps I should did out my old Hustle DVDs and take some notes. Or better still, email me with your ideas! Watch this space…
If you’d like to set up a Dyslexia Action supporter group in your local area or if you just want to share some ideas then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.