Seven employees from Antrim-based firmus energy have fuelled the reading potential of pupils in Antrim Primary School by taking part in the Business in the Community ‘Time to Read’ initiative. This is a paired reading programme engaging business volunteers on a one-to-one basis with key Stage Two children (P5-P7) to help them develop both socially and emotionally at the same time as enhancing their literacy skills.
Since October 2015, seven team members from various firmus energy departments have been visiting Antrim Primary School for an hour each week and working with two children per person. Jacqueline and Ashleigh Gange from customer service, Stephen Miller from regulatory affairs, Kayle Harron and Rachael Walshe from billing, Paula Simpson from tariff sales and Lorna Leese from HR have spent time on a one-to-one basis with pupils who need a little extra encouragement with their reading.
Lorna Leese from firmus energy and project co-ordinator for Time to Read explained: “I really enjoyed helping the children with their reading and found it very motivational. It is clear just how valuable the little extra one-to-one time was for the children and it was very inspiring to see how they have been improving. All of the firmus energy volunteers were so pleased to be involved in this initiative.”
Gillian Martin, from Antrim Grammar School said: “All pupils involved in a Time to Read have shown a greater interest in reading and have grown in confidence. Pupils and parents have both commented on how positive the programme has been.”
Michael Scott, managing director of firmus energy, added: “The school children are benefiting from this initiative as they are being helped both academically and socially. ‘Time to Read’ introduces children to a positive role model from the world of work, enabling them to improve their communication skills on a one-to-one basis and all of the firmus energy volunteers have given 100% to their role and I know that they are very much enjoying supporting the children.
“We have had an ongoing association with Business in the Community’s Time to Read scheme since 2007 and have always found it a worthy initiative, beneficial for both the children and for our team members, who have found the scheme very rewarding.”