Help launched for the one-in-seven adults in Northampton who struggle to read and write

Paul Bruton says people's literacy skills are still the subject of stigma in the modern age.
Paul Bruton says people's literacy skills are still the subject of stigma in the modern age.

A little-known struggle for many adults in the modern world is being combated one word at a time in a Northampton neighbourhood.

A one-to-one workshop at the community hub in Leicester Street will run until February for adults who cannot read or write.

The course at the Northampton Partnership Home community hub in Leicester Street will run until February.

The course at the Northampton Partnership Home community hub in Leicester Street will run until February.

It's a skill that is taken for granted by many people. But course founders Fluence say too many people are being held back from finding the job they want because they feel embarrassed about their literacy skills.

Coordinator Paul Bruton says: "There are a lot of tasks we take for granted that are so difficult if you struggle with reading and writing.

"Think about if you wanted to apply for a job. Everything is done online now and if you have poor literacy skills that can be a mammoth task."

A study in 2011 found that found that one-in-seven adults struggle with reading and writing, and are operating at a level normally seen in 11-year-olds.

Paul said: "English is a weird language. It doesn't even follow it's own rules.

"If someone fell behind in school they or missed out on core skills they may never have the courage to admit that as they feel embarrassed.

"Even though as a society we offer help for many disabilities, if you're struggling to read and write there is still a massive stigma."

Now, millions of pounds of funding has been made available by the EU Social Fund to help people in the East Midlands into work - including a £20,000 grant for Fluence to help people in Northampton learn to read and write again.

Paul said: "Northampton seems to be going through quite a bit at the moment. Fluence heard about the county council cuts. If the council can't provide these sort of services then we should step forward because we can.

"We want to help at least 20 people, if not more. We can get their confidence and their business skills up so they are confident to go back into education or into employment."

The free one-to-one workshops at the Northampton Partnership Homes community hub in Leicester Street are free and can be booked by calling 0121 638 0760 or by emailing Paul on paul@fluence.world. Visit the Fluence website for more information.