Project information

The Big Literacy Project

Working with boys from the BME community in Camberwell, we will motivate and inspire children to improve their creative writing skills and foster a love of reading and books. The project will work closely with local schools and parents to put on a big literacy event in summer 2014.

12 months

Charity information

Southside Young Leaders Academy

Southside Young Leaders Academy logo
  • Need


    Boys from the BME community score lower in literacy tests than the national average. Consequently they are at a disadvantage in secondary school and their education and future choice of jobs is reduced. Low performance in school frequently leads to a hostile attitude to learning and poor behavior, meaning that they are more likely to be excluded. Interest in books is low meaning that boys' vocabulary is limited, their ability to spell suffers and their exposure to new ideas is reduced.


    SYLA will hold a Reading Club every Saturday at which readers will work in small groups with a mentor and the more able readers will support the less able. The Reading Club will enlist the help of parents to encourage reading and the Club will link the book to creative writing and presentation activities culminating in an event at the Apple Store in London. Writing and performing own work helps young people build confidence and self-esteem which is at the heart of that we do

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To stage a reading and creative writing event as part of Camberwell Arts Festival June 2014


    » A regular Saturday Reading Club through 40 weeks of the year
    » Involve local schools in promoting the Big Literacy project and contributing to the Camberwell Arts Festival in June 2013
    » Invite children's' authors to come and speak to our members and attend the Camberwell Arts Festival

    Participation of 25 readers and 5 local schools will be a measure of success. Additional measures will be level of support among parents and the presence of 3 children's authors

    Aim 2

    To open the minds of young people to the benefits and joys of reading and creative ideas


    » To run visits and practical projects to expand and make more tangible the content of the book they're reading

    10 young people will write and perform imaginative pieces they have written to an audience of parents and other guests and record their work at the Apple Store

  • Impact


    The project will raise the long term interest in books and reading among young people taking part and among their peers and siblings. We will create young Reading Ambassadors who will help promote reading and books in their schools and the Literacy Project will become a regular feature of the Camberwell Arts Festival. We'll measure long term success through an annual 10% increase in the number of schools and young people taking part


    One risk is loss of central funding to SYLA which might prevent us from running the Project. The other is people dropping out. We'll deal with the first risk by applying to as many funders as we can and by seeking City of London, local authority and local companies to sponsor the event. Also we'll look to schools to help provide practical support and we'll set up links with authors and publishers to try and ensure a good range of participants.


    Funders of this project will receive an immediate thank-you from SYLA with news about the Academy and our activities. They'll be up-dated on progress after the first three months and again before the Big Literacy Event at Camberwell Arts Festival to which they'll be invited

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Reading Club 30 weekly reading clubs for 20 boys
      £800 Premises hire Premises rental 2 hrs pr wk x 30 wks
      £600 Materials, equip't Books, paper, accessories
      £1,600 Accomodation Staging the Big Literacy event June 2013
      £500 Facilitator fees Travel and allied expenses for speakers
      £500 Visits & projects Activity costs linked to book reading
      £500 Administration Book-keeping, payroll costs, NI
      £500 Publicity Writing and printing info literature
  • Background


    Camberwell lies between Peckham and Brixton and close to Dulwich, centres where writers and artists have congregated for centuries. Arts festivals have grown up in recent years and we want our young people to gain a foothold in that field of activity. Festivals serve to bring the community together and for young people its a chance to show what they can do.


    The population of Camber well is 37,500, 20% are children and the BME community makes up 36%. Many households are single parent, 11% of black youths become NEET, 55.5% of black males aged 16-24 are unemployed. Young people aged 8 - 16 will benefit from getting encouragement to develop their writing and performing skills and they'll get their work showcased. Other beneficiaries will be local schools, teachers and writers who will get their work better known.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    SYLA is the only voluntary organization in Camberwell to offer wrap-around care, that works simultaneously with boys, parents and schools. We've had experience in running reading workshops and in developing creative writing and performing and last year ran a project with the Apple Store in Covent Garden. We have close links with 5 local schools, with the Community Council and with the SE5 Business Forum.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Joshua Imuere

    SYLA Chief Executive and senior leadership instructor. His role is to provide background support for the project

    Stephney Bent

    Education Coordinator. She organizes and manages the reading groups and leads associated education activities

    Olivia Donkor

    Programme Manager. She maintains links with our local schools and run projects for parents