Draeger Safety UK, a global leader in the field of safety technology headquartered in Blyth in North East England, has announced the second year of partnership with literacy charity Chapter One.

Employees from across the business have taken part in the volunteering scheme, which sees staff members partnered with a primary school-aged child for weekly 30-minute online reading sessions.

Juliana Okodoa, a Senior Quality Engineer at the firm who has volunteered with the programme for eight months and reads with a child based in the Midlands said: “I always look forward to my Tuesday reading call! It’s very rewarding to see the improvement in the child you’re partnered with. I have children of my own, one a similar age to the child I read with through the programme, so I know the difference that reading makes. As with all children, they tend to relate differently to adults that are not their parents.

“It gives me real joy and satisfaction.”

Emma Bell, CEO, Chapter One comments: “We’re delighted to be celebrating our second year working with the team at Dräger, who together with our other corporate partners across the UK are helping us to support nearly 3,000 children with over 15,000 hours of reading support so far this school year. The window to teach children how to read is short and missing it can make it almost impossible to catch up. By providing children with effective, one-to-one reading support at the time they need it most, these wonderful volunteers are helping to develop fundamental reading skills and inspire a love for reading from an early age, helping to build confidence in children who might otherwise slip through the cracks.

“Early literacy is so critical to young peoples’ futures, and on average the pupils that our volunteers work with increased their literacy levels by an average of 44%.”

Chapter One works with over 140 businesses across the UK, and its Online Reading Volunteers Programme supports employee engagement and corporate social responsibility and social value commitments around education, social mobility and inclusion.

Draeger Safety UK is part of The Dräger Group, a family company founded in 1889 with over 16,000 employees worldwide (450 in Blyth, Northumberland). It is one of the global leaders in safety and medical technology and its safety products are used and trusted by a wide variety of customers across sectors including utilities, oil and gas, renewable energy, emergency services and manufacturing.

Dave Head, Head of Safety Marketing, Draeger Safety UK, Ltd  comments: “As a family-owned business, Dräger is deeply committed to its work with local communities and to contributing positively to wider society, and our partnership with Chapter One is one way in which we are working to support this goal. We are delighted to be celebrating our partnership with Chapter One today.”

The company recently announced that it intends to acquire land and develop plans for a potential new facility in North East England, reaffirming its commitment to the area and its 450 staff based in Blyth.