Tees business empowers vulnerable women

sound training

A Teesside charity that supports victims of honour-based violence and forced marriages says a recent pilot programme with Middlesbrough business Sound Training has boosted the confidence and self-worth of female participants.

Teesside success story Sound Training broke new ground by delivering its inspiring literacy programme to empower vulnerable local women who are working with The Halo Project.

Already delivered to more than 20,000 students in over 500 schools across the UK, Middlesbrough-based Sound Training boosts literacy levels dramatically, improving reading ages by an average of more than two years after only six hours of instruction.

Now it is proving to be increasingly popular with adult learners, with the firm’s founder director Katy Parkinson leading the training on a pilot project Sound Training believe will lead to much more work with charities across the country.

Yasmin Khan, director of the Halo Project, said: “The Sound Training programme has been fantastic in supporting and, in particular, giving our victims the confidence to feel that they are able to be engage, become empowered and achieve.

“Sound Training has given these women the confidence and affirmation of their self-worth they never knew they had in them. The enthusiasm of the staff involved has been intrinsic to ensuring the participants have been able engage with the programme despite their barriers and personal difficulties.

“The impact is that they are now realising their future potential. All of them are now considering engaging in other learning activities.”

Katy Parkinson, who founded Sound Training after formulating it whilst working with local schoolchildren for Middlesbrough Council, said: “This was the first time we had worked with a charity such as the Halo Project.

“Clearly, the women involved have significant challenges but literacy can be a key to so much, as it can build confidence and self-belief as well as opening new horizons.

“As all of those involved speak English as a second language, we recognised that there was huge potential to support the Halo Project in working with this group of women, giving them the benefits that experience has shown are achievable via Sound Training input. But our programme offers so much more than improved literacy skills.

“It was very quickly clear that our involvement was not only supporting the women with some challenges in literacy but was filling them with new-found confidence, so much so that all of them have stated that they are now eager to take on further learning as they continue their recovery from their past experiences.”

Claire Preston, Sound Training CEO, said: “We believe there is very significant scope to work with many more adult learners who speak English as an additional language, not only here in the North-East but right across the UK and beyond.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Yasmin and the Halo Project, and are discussing how we can work together to benefit many more people.”

Sound Training now employs 15 full-time staff and 80 teachers across England and Wales. The programme enhances vocabulary knowledge, develops spelling, punctuation and grammar and accelerates learning across the curriculum in fast, focused and fun training sessions.

Independent studies by Northumbria University have revealed that the programme improves the reading age of secondary school pupils by an average of 27 months in just six one-hour weekly sessions.


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