Meet our Literacy Special Initiative Phase 2 (cohort 1) grantees
Meet our Literacy Phase 2 (cohort 1) grantees

Literacy Phase 2 (cohort 1) Grantees









Phase 2 of the Young People and Education Programme's Literacy Special Initiative was launched in June 2023 to address increasing educational inequalities in London.  For children and young people facing socio-economic disadvantage a lack of literacy skills can exasperate the equality gap further. Recently schools have reported a decline in Literacy skills, largely attributed to the loss of in-person learning during the Covid pandemic. In particular oracy skills (speaking and listening) have fallen behind the expected level.

Seven organisations have now been awarded grants to work with children (aged 11 – 16 years old) in London, over the next four years. Their projects will help children develop as readers and writers, who have a voice. Their work will be underpinned by developing reading, writing, speaking and listening for pleasure. For the children they support this should help improve social and emotional skills, increase ability to engage with school, and, lead to higher attainment and improved life chances. All projects will support children facing disadvantage and will be inclusive, accessible, and equitable.   

The seven successful organisations are:

CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) - will provide literacy support to increase confidence and enjoyment in learning for young unaccompanied asylum seekers with EAL needs.

Company Three Theatre - will use literacy, oracy and language to support young people build confidence and better transition into secondary school.

First Story - will use creative writing activities to empower young people to find their voices and increase confidence, creativity, literacy and oracy skills.

Theatre Peckham - will bring together drama and literacy skills, particularly with texts by diverse writers (with their partner Words of Colour).

UK Reads - will seek to enhance literacy skills in disadvantaged children through the distribution of books, facilitating workshops and developing parent CPD through support sessions.

West Ham United Foundation - will develop an engaging curriculum of reading, writing and oracy interventions all via football related activities.

Write Back - will use storytelling and book publishing to improve young people’s self-esteem and literacy.

Literacy Phase 2 (cohort 1) Grantees

 These seven organisations will form a cohort which will come together to discuss common themes, challenges and solutions, share knowledge and disseminate best practice. 

The cohort will be supported by the Open University's Centre for Literacy and Social Justice (OU) the Learning Partner for Literacy Phase 2. They will act as a critical friend to grantees, support reflective practice, and draw out the learnings from the projects. The OU will also explore the role of oracy (talk) in developing young people’s engagement in literacy, assurance, self-respect and capacity to offer their own views and hear those of others. The OU will ultimately look at how all of this learning can contribute to wider literacy initiatives and influence societal/systemic change.

The Literacy Special Initiative was first launched by the Mercers' Company in March 2020. You can learn about Phase 1 here and access the OU developed Reading and Writing for Pleasure: Framework for Practice.

Details of how to apply for funding under cohort 2 (of Phase 2) will be available on the Mercers’ website in Spring 2024. Cohort 2 will support primary school aged children (5 – 11-year-olds).