Queen's Birthday Honours: Literacy champion and charity founder ‘honoured’ to be made an MBE for work with Pompey Pirates and girls’ mentor network

A PORTSMOUTH woman’s work championing literacy and supporting young girls has been honoured in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm

Becca Dean has been made an MBE for her charity work as the founder of The Literacy Hubs and The Girls' Network.

She said: ‘I am honoured and humbled to be awarded an MBE and it feels incredible particularly after the challenges of this year.

‘I hope it will inspire the young people we support to believe in their own ideas for a better world, and to effect the change we all want to see.’

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Becca Dean says she is 'honoured' to receive the award

The Literacy Hubs, which were launched last year, provide reading support to school age children in the city through the Pompey Pirates Literacy Hub.

It opened in the Charles Dickens ward in September and mimics a pirate ship that children can visit and read with a volunteer, encouraging the youngsters to learn in a unique environment.

Becca said: ‘As a former English teacher I saw first hand how poor levels of literacy was holding people back.

‘Low literacy levels lead to reduced access to employment opportunities and has a significant impact on well-being.

‘I believe that coordinated, local, action to raise literacy levels, will lead to increased educational attainment, employment and economic engagement across the city.’

Becca also co-founded The Girls’ Network in 2012, which pairs disadvantaged girls with a mentor to help them build their confidence and career aspirations.

She said: ‘Co-founder Charly and I were secondary school teachers in North West London when we witnessed the multiple barriers facing girls in our classrooms.

‘We believe that the girls needed a greater access to opportunities, but also the confidence to seize those opportunities and the skills to thrive in them.’

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After establishing a one-to-one mentoring scheme for 30 girls in 2013, The Girls’ Network now works with 1,000 girls across the country each year.

Becca, who is ‘Portsmouth born and bred’, recently won an Inspirational Women of Portsmouth award in the community category.

She also presents 'In Conversation' on Express FM, where she welcomes a woman who has achieved incredible things both professionally and personally in order to share their story, wisdom, and their favourite tracks.

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