We love our community

The Port Macquarie-Hastings region is full of community groups and organisations that aim to improve the quality of community life. Our vision, here at The Westport Club, is ‘to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life’, which is why we do whatever we can to support these organisations. We provide financial assistance through our ClubGRANTS program, attend events and show as much support for these incredible groups as we can. This week, we go ‘Red for Dyslexia’ with World Dyslexia Day being Friday 15th October. We want to highlight the outstanding work carried out by Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support. Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support is a dyslexia support group on a mission to close the gap between knowledge and action in classrooms locally and nation-wide.

Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support

Dyslexia is a serious difficulty that hinders reading and affects students’ ability to perform to their full potential in the classroom. Sadly, many schools are not equipped with the knowledge, tools or skills to help students with dyslexia. Because of this, many pupils don’t receive proper instruction on how to cope with their condition. Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support aims to help bring the necessary programs, tools and skills to all of our local school systems. The support group consists of pro-active parents and professionals who advocate for children dealing with the difficulty. They focus on sharing information on dyslexia, increasing awareness, and providing support for fellow parents and students dealing with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support was founded in 2015 and their connection with the community was immediate. The founders, Joanne McNamara and Kelly King, don’t believe parents should have to empty their wallets for their kids to find support. King and McNamara are aiming to establish meaningful relationships with local schools to embed dyslexia support programs directly into the classroom. Only then, will affected students receive the help they need where they need it most.

In November 2020 the (then) Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, announced compulsory Phonics Screening Check for all New South Wales Schools.  “Study after study shows that phonics is not taught properly, student outcomes suffer across the board.  Students with additional learning needs, particularly dyslexia, are further disadvantaged”, said Sarah Mitchell, NSW Minister for Education & Early Childhood Learning.  Commencing at the beginning of 2021, phonics will be compulsory for every year 1 class across NSW.  Every single year 1 pupil in every single public school must undergo a phonics screen check with their teacher.  This change was a direct result of the amazing drive to “Say Yes to the Phonics Check” from Dyslexia Support Mid North Coast.

You can keep up with Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support’s upcoming community events and news via their Twitter feed as well as their Facebook page.

Dyslexia MNC support

The Westport Club and Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support

Contributing to the community’s wellbeing is one of The Westport Club’s core values, and it shapes who we are. We love interacting with local organisations that make a difference to everyday lives in a positive way. We want to see these passionate members of our community grow and thrive. Dyslexia NSW Mid North Coast Support provides support for children with a difficulty that often goes unnoticed or ignored. We are proud to have partnered with them each year since 2015 for their ‘Go Red for Dislexia’ campaign, as well as donating over $10,000 to assist them in continuing their work for the Port Macquarie-Hastings community and beyond. This includes their program ‘Reading IS Rocket Science’ program, which offers professionals the opportunity to upskill their literacy instruction with training in Structured Literacy and Systematic Synthetic Phonics.

The Project provides scholarship opportunities for qualified teachers, teachers aides and educational professionals to develop the required skills to explicitly teach students with dyslexia and specific learning differences to read and spell.  The Westport Club has funded two local teachers to complete this training, once again supporting those whose primary desire is to support the beautiful community in which we all live. The Club has also provided several room hire and subsidies for workshops and presentations by Dyslexia MNC who have brought specialists to the area to present teachers and parents workshops in various programs to support children with dyslexia, one being on affordable multisensory reading and spelling program.

Last year we were fortunate to work closely with this wonderful group and offer in-kind support in the production of two fantastic videos. The videos will be used to increase awareness and education in schools for children, teachers and administrators, furthering the cause and increasing the understanding of Dyslexia.

For information on other ways that we contribute to the local community, check out our key initiatives. If you are involved with a community group that could use our support, you can apply for a grant through The Westport Clubs ClubGRANTs program.