‘Verbal was my favourite work placement’

Isobel Sharkey with Ann North, Reading Rooms Volunteer (left) and Susanne Stich, Literary Guide.
Isobel Sharkey with Ann North, Reading Rooms Volunteer (left) and Susanne Stich, Literary Guide.

Isobel Sharkey loves to read so the Verbal Arts Centre’s Reading Rooms project was her number one choice for work placement as part of the HOPE project at the Playtrail.

Isobel’s placement which began last November, finished last week and the staff at both Verbal and the HOPE project are delighted that the young trainee has enjoyed it so much.

“It was my favourite work placement,” declared Isobel (20), who worked closely with the Reading Rooms team while developing her own love of reading and creative writing.

As well as helping Verbal staff select new books for young adults taking part in Reading Rooms, Isobel participated in the 1-to-1 programme where she has just completed Kate Saunders’ ‘Five Children on the Western Front’, a follow-on from E. Nesbit’s ‘Five Children and It’ series.

Susanne Stich, Reading Rooms’ Literary Guide, said: “It has been great to have Isobel on board; she is so enthusiastic about reading and almost every book I have shown her she knows.”

The young trainee enjoyed going through the Reading Rooms’ newly acquired stock of young adult fiction books, providing recommendations about the stories suitable for various age groups.

According to Susanne, Isobel has also displayed the makings of a writer herself. “Not only has she a great talent in reading, she is also involved in creative writing and has written stories sparked off by some of the things she has read. She is a great observer of situations and draws her own conclusions.”

Anne-Marie Donnelly, Transition Services Manager at the Playtrail, said they were delighted to be working in partnership with the Verbal Arts Centre as part of the HOPE project’s work placement programme. Now in its fifth year, the project is funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Out Empowering Young People Programme.

She added: ”We are delighted that Isobel has had such an enjoyable and worthwhile placement with the Reading Rooms project at the Verbal Arts Centre where she was able to develop her skills in reading and creative writing.”

Isobel, whose favourite book is Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers,’ said she had really enjoyed her placement at the Verbal Arts Centre where she also attended Reading Rooms’ Volunteer meetings, and is now looking forward to joining a theatre group in September to pursue her love of drama.