Children’s goal is to help reading scheme

Linvoy Primus with children from St Swithun's
Linvoy Primus with children from St Swithun's
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THESE bright young things knew exactly which charity they wanted to support after raising hundreds of pounds through a football challenge.

Boys and girls at St Swithun’s Catholic Primary in Southsea spent an afternoon earning their sponsorship money by kicking balls into a net as fast as possible.

And they chose to put their hard-earned cash towards the Extra Time volunteer reading scheme that runs after-school clubs across the city to boost literacy.

Extra Time, which is run by the Faith and Football charity – founded by Pompey legend Linvoy Primus who joined in the challenge – provides one-to-one reading help and word games each week at St Swithun’s.

Finn O’Reilly, seven, said: ‘It was fun kicking the ball as hard as I could.

‘I think one of my kicks travelled at about 280 miles an hour, which was pretty good, but not as good as Linvoy.

‘He was amazing – you can see he is a brilliant footballer.’

He added: ‘I’m pleased the money is going to the people who help me read.

‘It means they will be able to help other people read too.

‘Before I wasn’t that good at reading but now I’ve got a lot better because I read lots of books and I can understand harder words.’

Agate Hendzl, seven, also benefits from Extra Time.

She said: ‘I had an amazing time doing the football challenge with Linvoy and it was especially nice knowing the money was going to help even more children read.

‘I love reading stories from the Bible because they have a lot of adventures in them.

‘I am getting a lot better at reading which is very important.

‘If you can’t read there are a lot of things you can’t do.’

Over the past five years, Wimborne Juniors, Cottage Grove, St George’s Beneficial CoE, St John’s Cathedral Catholic primaries in Portsmouth and St John The Baptist CoE Primary in Fareham have signed up to Extra Time.

Pupils on the scheme have seen their reading ages improve by three-and-a-half years in nine months.

Linvoy, founder of Faith and Football, said: ‘It’s brilliant the children chose our charity – it means they think we’re doing a good job!

‘It’s amazingly satisfying seeing the progress children make as a result of the excellent work of our volunteers.’