KPMG Family for Literacy (KFFL) is a sustainable volunteer programme that benefits local communities and has a collective impact on our people.
The OECD Adult Skills Survey shows that many Irish people have difficulties with literacy and may be unable to understand basic written information. There are many reasons why people have literacy difficulties - some may have left school early, while others may not have found learning relevant to their needs.
KPMG’s Head of Corporate Citizenship & Diversity, Karina Howley, says: “We understand that books can open up new worlds, and instil in children a lifelong love for learning, but often those new worlds and that love of learning are not accessible to children of low-income families. The KFFL programme was founded to help address childhood illiteracy, while at the same time creating a unique way for KPMG people, and the extended KPMG family, to positively engage and contribute to our communities. As part of this initiative we are running a number of exciting projects.”
“We are enhancing our existing Time to Read programme and expanding it as part of our KFFL programme,” says Karina. Time to Read is a programme run by KPMG in conjunction with Business in the Community Ireland, Elmgrove Primary School in Belfast and City Quay National School in Dublin. The programme involves volunteers from KPMG providing one-to-one reading support to 2nd class students.
KPMG volunteers provide reading support for one hour per week in the school, reading with two students for thirty minutes each. “We have increased our numbers involved in this initiative from ten to twenty volunteers to support a full class in City Quay National School. The desired outcomes of the programme are to increase the enjoyment of reading; improve fluency and comprehension when reading; increase confidence in reading; and improve and encourage self-discovery,” adds Karina.
In 2017, a new paired reading programme was introduced with CBS Westland Row in Dublin. KPMG has a well-established relationship with this Dublin secondary school, where we run a two-year mentoring programme for students in their final two years in school (ages 16/17).
“Last year, we ran a trial reading programme with their 1st year students (ages 12/13) as they felt their students would particularly benefit from the one-to-one attention with reading and help them with the transition into their new school. The results so far have been fantastic,” notes Karina.
Another new partnership introduced in 2017 was working with the National College of Ireland’s early learning initiative, Doodle Den, an evidence-informed after-school programme which aims to address literacy needs amongst senior infants. KPMG runs the programme in two Dublin schools in East Wall and Sherriff Street to support children’s literacy development and encourage their interest in reading, while allowing children to enjoy themselves in the process.
With a strong focus on literacy, we wanted to give everybody in the firm the opportunity to engage in World Book Day. KPMG Volunteers visited four schools across Ireland and we donated over 500 books to these schools as part of our launch of KFFL.
KPMG’s Managing Partner, Seamus Hand, says: “KFFL is about more than just philanthropy; it sends our people into our communities to complement corporate giving with grass roots volunteer work. Our goal is to provide children in need with access to books as a way of promoting literacy. Literacy is the baseline from which all other opportunities are possible and we are delighted to be able to make a difference.”