Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has praised the work of business charity BW3 after checking out its ground-breaking reading mentoring scheme.

The Mayor was speaking during a visit to St Paul’s High School, in Wythenshawe, where he learned of all the work done to improve literacy among pupils.

A key element of that work is a programme launched by BW3 in the last year, which sees business figures train-up as mentors and deliver weekly coaching sessions with young people.

The project is the result of a partnership between BW3 – which stands for Business Working With Wythenshawe – and the Shannon Trust, which runs a highly-successful literacy programme in prisons.

The BW3 scheme has seen 14 mentors from organisations including Award Marking, Manchester City Council, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Manchester Athena and Timpson trained up, with 14 year seven students from St Paul’s benefiting.

It has proved such a success that some students from St Paul’s have themselves decided to train-up as mentors and deliver sessions to primary school pupils at nearby Newall Green Primary School.

And teachers say the project has contributed to a recent positive Ofsted inspection.

After his visit, Mr Burnham said: “It was brilliant to see what BW3 are doing to support literacy and the difference you are making. To hear that directly from the young people themselves was very powerful and provides them with a very solid path for the future. What BW3 does is amazing.”

Rob Dillon, chair of BW3’s schools sub-committee, and a reading mentor himself said: “BW3 is all about responding to the needs of Wythenshawe by developing innovative programmes with the support of businesses. Our new reading mentoring scheme truly is a chance to transform lives and we are so happy with the success of our pilot year.”

To find out more about reading mentoring, take a look here

To enquire about becoming a mentor visit here or contact zara@bw3.org.uk.