Be part of Time to Read, our ground-breaking literacy programme. Scientists have found that children who can read well by the age of seven are more intelligent in later years. Time to Read bridges the gap in literacy skills for children up to the age of ten.

Could you give just one hour each week making a real difference to the life of a child through reading?

Award-winning Time to Read is a volunteering initiative, developed by Business in the Community and supported by the Department of Education. It aims to improve literacy, foster a love of reading and build confidence and social skills of children at Key Stage 2 in local primary schools.

In the 19-20 academic year Time to Read operated in over 130 schools across Northern Ireland. Why not join this army of over 500 volunteers and make a difference?

Last year, more than 60 of Northern Ireland’s leading companies supported their staff to volunteer an hour per week during term time through Time to Read.

100% of participating schools say they would recommend Time to Read to another school.

Company benefits include:

  • Develops staff confidence
  • Increases self-esteem and communication skills
  • Motivates staff and enhances team work
  • Raises company profile in the local community
  • Builds partnerships with local schools

Schools benefits include:

  • Provides an insight into the business world
  • Motivates and develops children academically and socially
  • Introduces children to a positive role model from the world of work
  • Enables children to work on a one-to-one basis improving communication skills, confidence and self-esteem

“It has been an honour and privilege to part of Time to Read and I would recommend and encourage anyone to participate. It has been a very rewarding experience for me and has given me an opportunity to do something totally outside the realms of my workplace.” Terry Weir, Funeral Services Northern Ireland


Established in 1999, Time to Read is offered within school time in a group environment where local business people read on a one-to-one basis with children, supporting their reading progress and giving them an insight into the world of work. Business in the Community provides full training and Access NI clearance. Organisations involved agree to release staff for one hour a week to volunteer in a local school. Initial commitment is for one year with the option of extending and many of our volunteers are now in their fifth and sixth year.

This programme takes place across Northern Ireland. For more information, email Ciara Mulgrew, Programme Executive, or call (028) 9046 0606.

Inspire the future workforce with a Workplace Visit

We know lots of organisations love the idea of Time to Read but cannot commit to the ongoing weekly volunteering. As an alternative, why not help inspire the future workforce by hosting a workplace visit. We’re looking for companies who can host a visit for primary school pupils. Give them a tour of your workplace or introduce them to staff from a variety of departments. Visits can take place at any time throughout the academic year and we can provide supporting PR. If this is not possible, why not help us develop a library of online resources that will help pupils understand the many job roles and workplaces around Northern Ireland. This could be through storyboards outlining staff careers, a short video of different staff members explaining their role/career path or a virtual tour.   If you have any queries, please email Ciara Mulgrew


For more information, email Ciara Mulgrew, or call 07467 147805.

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