The aim of the Reading Partners programme is to instil a love of reading in students from an early age, harnessing the power of business volunteers to bring words to life and introduce students to the world of work. These connections are invaluable for the young people involved, allowing them to have an independent adult to talk to, and find out what they do in those glistening spires in the City.

However, it’s not just the students that benefit as Midhin Joy from AJG explains: “I find being a Reading Partner very rewarding, to think of the huge benefit it provides to the children compared to the 30 minutes we invest on a weekly/fortnightly basis gives you that ‘feel good factor.’ The Reading Partners scheme is probably one of the very few times the children get an opportunity to interact with adults who are not part of the education system or their direct family. Therefore, key qualities such as interpersonal skills, confidence building and social interaction are all part of the overall benefit we could provide someone by giving them as little as half an hour of our time.”

Wim Bushell who is Chair–Corporate Responsibility at Arthur J Gallagher can also see the benefits for the business: “It is easy sometimes to get very involved in our day job and not think about what the impact of investing as little as 30 minutes could have on someone, it is one lunch time for us, but it could mean a whole lot more for these children. At Arthur J. Gallagher we are very keen to encourage our people to support those less fortunate than themselves in the communities where they live and work. Allowing our people to raise funds or volunteer for the causes which they are passionate about is a key part of our strategy. The Reading Partners scheme is a simple and a great way for our people to get actively involved in their local communities. I know that those involved get a huge amount of satisfaction out of their weekly visit to the school and in turn this makes them an even more valuable employee for our company.”