Over the last ten years Merseytravel has taken its staff on a reading journey. Their Learning and Development arm is branded Merseylearn, and is a joint management-union programme supported financially by the government through Unionlearn.
UNISON union learning rep Ya Ching Darnell has led much of the activity, inspiring her colleagues to develop a love of reading. They have run Reading Ahead every year, spreading it further each time through Reading Champions in different sites and in other organisations in their main HQ. This year they achieved a gold award from The Reading Agency with 155 completers. Not a native English speaker herself, Ya Ching says: “Reading Ahead has embedded reading in our organisation’s culture.”
Their success with Reading Ahead has led to the formation of a staff book club with 35 members across their transport sites emailing views about their book choices. They encourage staff to take their young children to local libraries in Liverpool to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge as well as promoting World Book Day, World Book Night and Quick Reads – in fact they take every opportunity to get people reading and talking about it!
ULRs Ya Ching and Tony Norbury have become ‘reading aloud’ practitioners with The Reader Organisation which is based in Liverpool. They have also worked with the Liverpool City of Readers on a project called Moved To Read where they shared Quick Read books with public transport users on the ferries , trains, buses, taxis and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. All of this activity has led to them being given a gold award by the Liverpool Quality Reading Mark – the first non-school organisation to be recognised in this way and deservedly so!
1 November 2017