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Posted on 23 July 2015

Burnley families turn a page with new learning and literacy group

The first families have successfully completed a brand new free programme aimed at improving the learning and literacy skills of preschool children.

Developed by National Literacy Trust, and delivered by Calico Creative, Early Words Together helps families with preschool children to support their early learning, literacy and language development.

The sessions cover a variety of free activities – from songs and rhymes to arts and crafts – that families can do at home, as well as a weekly visit to a local library.

All children who take part in Early Words Together can choose three free books to take home and keep.

More than 40 volunteers have already been recruited since January – many from the Burnley area – to deliver six weekly, fun and simple one-hour sessions, helping children learn and prepare for school.

Volunteer Uzma Raziq said:

“Volunteering with Early Words Together has been useful to see the changes in families over a short period of time. Engaging with agencies can be difficult for some families, but these sessions have helped to remove some of those barriers.

“The training at Calico was thorough and very useful, and the continued support from the team was reassuring. I felt a little nervous initially, but the team were friendly and encouraged all volunteers to actively participate and develop relationships with the families.

“It has been fun and useful, and I look forward to my next sessions.”

The programme, which aims to target 100 families by the end of September 2015, has been delivered in children’s centres and nurseries across Burnley, including Burnley Wood, Tay Street, Reedley Hallows, Happy Faces and Giant Leap.

Alyssa Cottrell, Deputy Head of Reedley Hallows Nursery School, said:

“We have been very impressed with the high calibre of the volunteers running Early Words Together. We depend on enthusiastic and reliable volunteers to be able to run a wide range of activities. Jackie Catlow, who co-ordinates these sessions, has worked hard to listen and respond to the needs of the nursery school and the families attending the sessions.

“The groups have attracted a wide range of families with different needs, and the feedback has been that the sessions were fun and worthwhile.

“Including a weekly trip to the library has been fantastic and many of the families have continued to use the library regularly.”

For more information about Early Words Together, or to register for the programme, email Jackie Catlow at

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