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Children's reading charity appeals for volunteers in Liverpool in its 50th Anniversary year

CORAM Beanstalk is calling for volunteers across Liverpool to train as reading helpers with the charity and support local primary School children with their reading. The national children's reading charity, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, is hosting drop in sessions, on:- Monday, 20 March 2023, at Liverpool Central Library (11.30am to 12.30pm) and The Liverpool Quaker Meeting House (3.30 to 4pm) for anyone interesting in finding out more about volunteering.

Coram Beanstalk works in 38 Schools across Merseyside, with more than 40 reading helper volunteers, including 1 who has been a volunteer for over 20 years. The charity currently has eight Schools in the area with children still waiting for a reading helper, so is urgently looking to recruit more volunteers.

Coram Beanstalk volunteers play a vital role in not only boosting children's reading confidence and attainment but also inspiring a love of reading. For volunteers, one of the most rewarding aspects is the rapport they develop with the children. The 1 to 1 relationship means that volunteers can really get to know a child and find out which books might spark their interest. Liverpool volunteer Stephen Donoghue said:- "At 1st, I saw 4 hesitant and unsure children. Now I see blossoming confidence, energy and wonderful smiles. It's smashing being a Coram Beanstalk Reading Helper."

Amy Lewis, Head of Coram Beanstalk, said:- "Our volunteers are the face and heart of Coram Beanstalk, we really value the time they give to the children we exist to help. We love to hear of the fun they have in School and are delighted that 98% of our volunteers would recommend us to a friend. If you're thinking of joining us, go for it!"

From application to introduction to a local School, where a match is waiting, the whole recruitment journey for new volunteers is currently averaging 30 days from application to completing training and DBS checks.

The Coram Beanstalk team will be on hand at the drop in events, on:- 20 March 2023, for anyone interested in volunteering to find out more and ask questions. For more information about Coram Beanstalk and joining as a volunteer, please visit:- CoramBeanstalk.Org.UK.

Ministry Of Justice Calls For People from the North West to Volunteer as Magistrates; as applications open this month

PEOPLE from all walks of life in the North West are being urged to consider becoming Magistrates as applications open in the North West for this vital role. The appeal is part of a national drive to increase the number and diversity of those volunteering across England and Wales.

The Judiciary of England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice are calling on people from the North West to be part of a new wave of volunteers, giving back to their local community and helping the magistracy better reflect the diversity of British society.

No legal qualifications or experience is required to be a Magistrate, but volunteers will work closely with 2 other Magistrates and a legal advisor, who offers guidance on the law. The role also gives people a chance to give back to their community, build relationships with new people and develop new skills.

From:- Teachers to Electricians, to stay at home parents, anyone aged between:- 18 and 70, who can commit to at least 13 days a year, for at least 5 years, is encouraged to come forward.

With support from Magistrates in [Region], the campaign seeks to boost numbers by recruiting 4,000 new Magistrates across England and Wales over the next few years.

Data from 2022 on the diversity of the current magistracy in the North West shows an increase in the number of women (58% of the magistracy) and people under 50 (22%) volunteering to be Magistrates compared to last year.

The Judiciary of England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice are continuing to build on this work to attract a wave of volunteers who are even more representative of the community they serve.

Magistrates are given robust training and an experienced mentor in their 1st year to develop their skills and legal knowledge. Magistrates typically develop highly transferrable skills such as:- critical analysis, complex problem solving, mediation, influencing and decision making, all of which stand to benefit them in their wider lives. Research from the Ministry of Justice amongst HR and business leaders showed they felt people who volunteer as Magistrates were likely to have sound judgement (89%) and effective decision making (81%).

Existing Magistrates are stepping forward to talk about the benefits they've seen in terms of their skills boost and the benefits of giving back to encourage others to take part.

Usman is an optometrist living in Burnley. After always being interested in the legal sector, he has worked as a Magistrate for the last 7 years in the Lancashire and Cumbria area.

On his role as a Magistrate, Usman says:- "Without any formal experience in the legal sector, I was worried I might not be able to be a Magistrate but you really don't need any specific qualifications; I got all the training I needed. I love travelling to Court and having the privilege to create positive change for my local community, while learning new skills and enjoying new challenges."

Vera is a Housing Manager from Liverpool and has been a Magistrate since 2018. She became a Magistrate after visiting Court with her Law studying son.

On her role as a Magistrate, Vera says:- "It was visiting a Court with my son when he was studying law that really inspired me into volunteering. I wanted to learn more about the justice system and also saw volunteering as a great opportunity to give back to my community. Having my son graduate in a degree in law was especially moving as we both understand how important our work is to our local communities. I have learnt so many new skills which were transferrable to my paid employment, benefitting my own career progression as well as my employer."

Justice Minister Mike Freer, said:- "Magistrates have a vital role to play in our justice system and we want to see every part of society represented on their benches. By volunteering their time and experience from other walks of life, they play a hugely important part in transforming lives and delivering justice for victims."

Mark Beattie JP, National Chair of the Magistrates' Association said:- "Magistrates are the cornerstone of the justice system of England and Wales, so we welcome this continued drive to recruit much-needed volunteers to help deliver speedier justice for all. Diversity is one of the strengths of the magistracy, so we would encourage those from underrepresented groups and areas to apply to perform this most rewarding of voluntary roles. We look forward to sitting alongside you and to welcoming you as members soon."

Being a Magistrate is a part time role that can fit round other working commitments. From making an impact on families' futures and children's lives as a:- Family Court Magistrate, to handling criminal cases as a:- Criminal Court Magistrate, candidates are being sought to fill positions across all jurisdictions. Whether a Family or Criminal Court Magistrate, whichever role volunteers take up, Magistrates regularly make decisions that will shape the lives of individuals for years to come.

Applications are now open in the North West, anyone looking to volunteer should visit:- ICanBeAMagistrate.Co.UK, for more information.

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