A PROGRAM that helps adults learn to read and write is in desperate need of volunteers.

Program co-ordinator for the Waverley Adult Literacy Program Gloria Parker said demand always outstripped supply.

She said the program had about 50 volunteers, with 35 active at any one time.

“There is always more demand. Some volunteers take on two or three students if we get pressed,” she said.

Ms Parker said volunteers only needed to spare two hours a week to help.

“It is very flexible in the time they meet, the place they meet and what they teach. Everyone has a strength we can match with someone,” she said.

Ms Parker said volunteers were trained free by the centre.

“We get them to sit in on two to three different classes we run and if they are still keen then we take them through a 10-week training course so by the start of the next term they are ready to be matched with a student.”

Ms Parker said volunteers came from a variety of backgrounds, from people with PhDs and students to housewives and nurses.

The Waverley Adult Literacy Program was set up 27 years ago.

“Two schoolteachers saw that there was a need in the Waverley community for an adult literacy program. It grew and grew, then about seven to eight years ago it went into a bit of a lull when the State Government decided it was not going to give funding to non-accredited courses. So we started to investigate accredited courses and began running them,” Ms Parker said.

The program now runs accredited classes as well as a one-on-one program.