OPP OF THE DAY: Pioneer, Read Easy

What is a Read Easy Pioneer and how you can help!
A Read Easy Pioneer is a local person with an interest in making a difference for adults who cannot read. Pioneers work closely with Read Easy to help create a network of organisations and local people to support a brand-new group. They are supported by a Regional Adviser and the role is informed by a tried-and-tested process for setting up a new group.
The good news is you don’t have to be a literacy specialist or have any experience to be a Pioneer – all you need is enthusiasm, commitment, the confidence to meet and communicate with a diverse range of people, and to enjoy being organised! We know that Pioneering is a rewarding and sometimes challenging role and as a result we ask all Pioneers to consider recruiting another volunteer to support them in setting up the group. This might be someone to share tasks with as well as to meet regularly for mutual support and to help with problem-solving.

What does a Pioneer do?
• Follow the Read Easy process for setting up a new group, using our Handbook and Toolkit.
• Recruit a Co-Pioneer to share the need tasks with.
• Network with a range of organisations to gauge the level of need and interest in establishing a new group in their area
• Represent Read Easy on a local level, acting as a point of contact for potential volunteers, organisations and readers.
• Actively encourage local people to get involved as volunteers using various methods of advertising supplied by Read Easy.
• Help to arrange a public meeting to generate interest in Read Easy.
• Oversee the recruitment of a management team.
• Write two short progress reports for Read Easy.
• Maintain accurate notes and records.
• Work closely with their Regional Adviser and their Co-Pioneer.
• Consider taking on a role on the management team.

What is the time commitment?
• Pioneers need to have the equivalent of at least 1 day per week available in order to undertake key tasks. Ideally, a good deal of this time should take place within the working week to facilitate meetings.
• Pioneering follows a tried-and-tested method for setting up a group, which can take up to 12 months, so it is best suited to someone who wants to make an ongoing commitment.
• You will work through 4 main tasks: to network, organise a public meeting, recruit a management team, and arrange your first Management Team meeting where you handover responsibility to the appointed Team Leader.
• There may well be some evening or weekend volunteering involved to enable you to meet with a greater number of potential volunteers.

What will you get from volunteering as a Pioneer?
Satisfaction, support and fun!
• The satisfaction of knowing you are starting something from scratch to benefit your local community – it can be really rewarding to know you have played a key role in bringing such a transformational project to life.
• You will have the opportunity to work closely with local people – it can be very enjoyable to be part of a team working towards a common goal.
• Pioneering is a great way to use existing skills you may have from your life and career, and to develop additional ones! Some of our Pioneers tell us that volunteering with us has been life-changing, and has enabled them to bring together a range of skills from other parts of their life, and to try new things.
• There is access to training and development opportunities through Read Easy, including Management Team Training and the annual Read Easy Conference.
• The flexibility to continue into another role with the local group or to stop volunteering at the end of Pioneering, if you prefer.
• This is a home-based and flexible volunteering opportunity, so you can fit it around your other commitments.
• You will have access to lots of support from your Regional Adviser and colleagues at the Read Easy UK head office based in Gloucestershire.
• We provide you with access to a Read Easy email, resources, an expenses fund and flexible support to assist you in your role with us.

What does a usual week look like?
• At this is a flexible role, no two weeks will look the same! However, over a typical month you can expect to be

– Using the Read Easy Toolkit and Pioneer Handbook to help you plan your activities.
– Liaising with potential partners and volunteers via email and on the phone.
– Developing an understanding of how the local Read Easy group might fit into the local provision for adult reading coaching (i.e. local authority or other sector provisions).
– Arranging to network in person at local meetings and organisations.
– Maintaining accurate records of your work and contacts.
– Catching up with your Regional Adviser for problem solving and planning, hopefully with coffee and cake if in person!
– Using template articles and marketing tools to reach out to potential volunteers.
– Considering applications from potential volunteers for the Management Team.
– Collating information for one of two short reports to Read Easy UK on the group’s progress.

To be an effective Pioneer, YOU need to have
Strong communication and administration skills, plus a commitment to our central values
– Initiative and the ability to work independently.
– Confidence to network and communicate with a wide range of people and volunteers.
– The ability to inspire other people to get involved.
– A willingness to work methodically and keep accurate records.
– Regular access to a computer and ability to use basic email and word processing packages.
– A desire to try new things with an open mind. For instance, adapting an article for a local newspaper.
– The commitment to follow Read Easy processes and safer-recruitment procedures.
– The ability and enthusiasm to collaborate with others.
– A commitment to demonstrating the Read Easy values of mutual respect, kindness, support and collaboration.

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY please contact:

Kris Ventris-Field
Email: kris@readeasy.org.uk

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