Bridport Read Easy, the volunteer-led reading coaching programme for adults, is expanding.

The group is now planning to build on its success in Bridport by reaching further north to cover rural areas towards Yeovil and a little further west so that it has a presence in Ilminster, which is not served by the Taunton Read Easy group.

Said Bridport Read Easy Team Leader Alli Baldwin: ‘We have made a start and have two readers in Martock, another in Crewkerne and have made links with libraries in both towns and in Yeovil.

‘This has involved recruiting local coaches who have also joined our management team so that they can carry out tasks such as venue checks.’

Through the Read Easy scheme, a reader and their coach meet for half an hour at a time, twice a week, in one of a range of approved local reading venues which provide space free of charge. The service is free to the reader, confidential and one-to-one.

They work in spaces where they are not overlooked, but where there will always be other people around for safeguarding purposes.  Some groups also provide coaching online or over the phone.

Coaching is provided through a highly effective, phonics-based reading programme called Turning Pages, published by the charity Shannon Trust.

An adult reading journey usually takes two years as a minimum. On completion, learners will have acquired the skills they need to move on to further reading and learning. The programme takes people systematically through the learning process step by step, at their own pace and steadily builds their confidence.

The Turning Pages programme also includes 45 graded reading books, written especially for adults, so that, from an early stage, people can begin to read for meaning and pleasure. Read Easy Coaches will often tailor sessions and tasks to Readers personal interests, making what they learn both useful and engaging to them.

As people discover that they can read, their self-esteem grows, and they experience a real sense of excitement about the many opportunities that are now open to them for the first time.

The Bridport group began in 2011 and covers Bridport, Beaminster, Crewkerne and Abbotsbury.

It’s part of Read Easy UK but is financially independent and is responsible for raising all the money needed to keep the group going.

Bridport Literary Festival, which takes place from Sunday 5-11 November, has supported Bridport Read Easy for several years.

Said BridLit director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart: ‘We are delighted to support and be associated with Read Easy. The charity, founded in Bridport to help adult literacy, now has a national presence and has been increasingly successful over the years in developing adult literacy skills.’

Alli Baldwin said: ‘Establishing our name in a new area depletes our funds very efficiently so we have to plan our finances carefully.

‘BridLit’s generous donation has made a big impact on our work, enabling regular advertising and funding both the Turning Pages books, which we use to coach our readers, and coach training.

‘We are all volunteers so support of this kind provides a welcome fillip and is much appreciated.’