Appeal for more dyslexia funding

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John Martin with a student Pic © Hilary Doody

John Martin with a student. Pic © Hilary Doody

A local community enterprise supporting dyslexic people will be forced to close without further funding, it has been claimed.

Positive About Dyslexia, a community enterprise based in Garston, offers a free 15-week course to help improve individuals’ reading and writing skills so they can find work.

John Martin, a former teacher, and Hilary Doody, who has a child with dyslexia, set up the company seven years ago to offer more support to those struggling with literacy difficulties.

The group has worked with people of all ages from school children through to adults and particularly focuses on helping people whose dyslexia has prevented them from getting jobs.

Doody said: “These people have tried to gain literacy skills but have failed and go on failing. Some of the people we have worked with have had long periods of employment in the past but employers are now insisting on greater literacy. This is why they really need our help and one-to-one support.”

Despite possessing industry skills, dyslexia sufferers often find it hard applying and being interviewed for jobs and some have been known to face ridicule from employers for struggling with reading and writing.

“The problem is that not enough people understand dyslexia which is why there is not enough initial education provided. It takes patience and understanding and it’s all about building people’s confidence,” Martin explained.

The organisation has previously worked with Connexions and job centres to encourage them to refer clients to the students at the centre. However, John and Hilary are worried that without the funding to continue the organisation, the young people will again struggle to find work.

The company has previously received funding from associations such as the Skills Funding Agency and the Worker’s Educational Association (WEA) but is now down to its last round funding and will have to close when this money runs out unless it receives further support.

About Georgie Whitworth, JMU Journalism