HEY CU and NGN Take Reading on the Road

Hull and East Yorkshire (HEY) Children’s University and Northern Gas Networks have teamed up on an exciting new project which will help inspire a love of reading for children living in the Care System.

Friday 12th November saw the official launch of the van at Bridlington Spa in the presence of VIP guests.

Northern Gas Networks has been one of the charity’s corporate partners for the past 8 years and has been instrumental in helping the charity to grow and reach a greater number of children.

HEY Children’s University applied for Northern Gas Networks’ Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance funding, which is provided by Ofgem for all gas distribution networks.

Their proposal was to fund a reading camper van which would solve the problem of limited 1:1 reading space in some schools. HEY Children’s University delivers a reading intervention programme called the Letterbox Club in which children in care receive a monthly letterbox parcel filled with books.

The HEY Children’s University Letterbox Tutors visit the children at their school and hold reading sessions with the children to help them to progress and develop a love of reading. The tutors work specifically with looked after children in year groups 3 to 7 and visit them on a weekly basis. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a quiet spot to sit and read inside school when there are many distractions, so the van (kitted out as a perfect “reading corner”) provides a space to do this. The children can even choose to read outside the van on one of the beanbags!

The van will also be used for HEY Children’s University to deliver carbon monoxide awareness sessions in school.


Natasha Barley, Director of HEY Children’s University said: “We have such an amazing partnership with NGN. NGN identified that literacy and employability were key issues to address in Hull and the East Riding. The reading van will help us ensure that children in care are able to access their reading sessions.

“The sessions take place for up to three years and children finish the programme at expected reading age or above which in turn helps them to achieve academically and go on to gain qualifications and employment.

“It’s also very important for children to be educated about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the sessions delivered in schools across Hull and the East Riding will ensure that children are educated about this important issue. We’re very excited about this new initiative and look forward to seeing the van in action changing lives.”

NGN is the gas distribution network for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Cumbria, transporting gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across the region.

Ensuring children stay safe and know about the dangers of carbon monoxide is one of their key priorities. The HEY Children’s University tutors will travel around Hull and the East Riding to deliver these important sessions to schools.

Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be part of the Reading Van project, supporting children and young people in communities across Hull and East Riding.

“Developing these early skills is vitally important when we think about the workforce of the future, and ensuring young people are equipped with the tools they need to build careers and flourish in years to come.”


Partner Spotlight: INEOS Acetyls

Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University is delighted to announce INEOS Acetyls as a Silver Partner of the charity.

In January 2021, the Hull-based business was acquired from BP by global chemical company INEOS to become INEOS Acetyls. INEOS Acetyls is the largest producer of acetic acid, acetic anhydride and ethyl acetate in Europe. These chemicals are used in everyday products such as pharmaceuticals, household cleaning products, textiles, paints, detergents, nail varnish remover, packaging and many more items.

The INEOS group comprises 36 businesses with 194 sites in 29 countries throughout the world. INEOS also encompasses consumer brands and sports interests including the INEOS Grenadier, the brand new 4×4, hand sanitiser brand INEOS Hygienics, and fashion brand Belstaff. INEOS’ interests in sport encompass ownership of the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, OGC Nice and Lausanne Sport football teams, and part-ownership of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team. INEOS also supported Sir Ben Ainslie’s bid to win the 36th America’s Cup.

Beyond business and sport, INEOS supports and leads a wide spectrum of charitable work, including the establishment of the INEOS Oxford Institute for AMR research opened to help tackle the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The partnership with our charity started 4 years ago and over the course of it, we have been able to inspire young children into STEM related subjects by delivering a yearly STEM day at Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC).

Working with staff and Children’s University mentors, children learnt about the diverse array of STEM career opportunities available.

The STEM days have been extremely successful and have inspired hundreds of local children to consider going into STEM related careers, as some of their comments demonstrate:

“Today was amazing. My favourite bit was using spaghetti and marshmallows to make a structure to see if it would hold a certain amount of weight, and also winning the drone, but I also just loved learning new things.”

“I will become a scientist after today! The best bit was the teamwork, learning about the bloodhound car and then having the chocolates; they were delicious. (YUMMY).”

Rose James, Partnership Manager at HEY Children’s University outlined the plans for the partnership with INEOS Acetyls: “We are so grateful to INEOS Acetyls for their support, and we can’t wait for the next STEM day which will take place in 2022. These days give the children aspirations that they otherwise might never have and give them a new dream to follow with a belief they CAN achieve it.”

Ellie Westwood, Communications Lead at INEOS Acetyls, said: We’re delighted to support Hull & East Yorkshire Children’s University again. Our STEM inspiration day is a really wonderful way of helping children from our local area learn, experience and discover more about the world of science and engineering, as well as the opportunities for future jobs in the local area.”


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