Oxfordshire reading charity ARCh is on the shortlist to win funding from the Oxford Mail.

The Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the paper’s parent company, is providing £128,000 in cash, to support local charities across the country and the paper is delighted to have a £16,000 share to give away.

ARCh stands for Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire.

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The charity’s website says: “Since its inception in 2008 ARCh’s professionally trained reading mentors have helped to transform the lives of thousands of children by giving them a lifelong love of reading

“Today the charity has around 260 reading helpers who give their time generously to support the literacy and communication skills of 800 children in 120 Oxfordshire primary schools each year.

“The number of schools requesting our service continues to grow and we have an expanding volunteer base.”

Development manager Jane Rendle said in a statement on the website: “We will be eternally grateful for all the support received from volunteers, trustees and donors who helped us set up the charity and who have played their part in its great success. I have learnt so much about running a charity during my ARCh journey and continue to learn all the time from all our amazingly skilled reading helpers who make a real difference to children’s lives.

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“It is an enormous privilege to be involved with the charity.”

Oxford Mail:

ARCh volunteers do not need particular qualifications or experience.

But according to the charity they need to be patient, enjoy reading and have the appropriate interpersonal skills to help children and liaise with school staff.

Reading helpers are trained to a high standard on an initial two-day programme, after which they have continued on-going support from their allocated field worker who helps them settle into a school which is local to them.

They are also be provided with all the resources they may need and travel expenses between home and school are paid.

Oxsrad, ARCh and The Gatehouse now all have the chance to get a share of this £16,000 in funding.

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For four weeks, readers will be invited to collect tokens from our newspapers which can then be sent to collection points across our region or posted.

Each token collected will then be used to allocate cash to the nominated charity - so if your favourite charity collects 50 per cent of all tokens collected, it will get 50 per cent of £16,000.

Regional editor Andrew Colley said: “We know the last year has been tough for people right across our community and now is time to give back.

“Every day we get to hear of the amazing work Oxfordshire charities do for people in all walks of life. By nominating and then casting your votes over the next couple of weeks, you can help make a real difference.

“This is a great initiative and one I’d encourage you to get behind.”

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF