Issue 6  |  MARCH 2017
Improving adult literacy and numeracy is key to the economic future of Tasmania
Confident volunteers make a difference at Starting Point Neighbourhood House

Building brighter, stronger families conference
Volunteers count
Lecturers embed plain English into Law Faculty teaching materials
  Meet our new 26TEN Team member
618 member organisations and supporters have taken action and joined 26TEN.
1303 people have volunteered and completed training to be adult literacy tutors helping people with reading, writing and maths in Tasmania.
48% of Tasmanians do not have the literacy and numeracy skills they need for life in a technologically-rich world.
Message from Daryl Quilliam
Chair, 26TEN Coalition

Improving adult literacy and numeracy is key to the economic future of Tasmania

It’s a hard fact that half of all Tasmanian adults don’t have the skills they need for everyday life. Technological advances and increasing demands in workplaces mean the skills we need today are more complex than they were 50 years ago, when I was a lad.

When we understand the impact this has on our businesses and communities, we recognise the importance of doing something about it.

What is the problem?

One in two adult Tasmanians don’t have the literacy skills they need to fully engage with work. Even more have low numeracy.

At work, people might have trouble:
  • filling in forms
  • following procedures
  • reading safety signs
  • using a calculator
  • taking messages.
 Why should your business be involved?

From my experience with 26TEN and as Mayor of Circular Head Council, I’ve learned that every business has a role to play and every business can benefit. Organisations like Tierney Law, Harvest Moon, Nyrstar, and Starting Point Neighbourhood House, have already noted improvements such as improved skills and confidence in staff, fewer safety incidents and mistakes made at work.
What can your business do?
Improving the literacy and numeracy skills of your workforce and using plain English in your workplace will improve productivity and compliance, reduce safety incidents and help your business adapt to change.

Run free workshops to improve communication with staff, clients and stakeholders

A literacy awareness workshop explains the impact of low literacy on individuals and the Tasmanian economy and explains what we can all do to help people improve their skills.

A plain English workshop outlines the benefits of using plain English and gives participants the chance to practise on their own documents. Participants also get their own copy of Communicate Clearly: A guide to plain English.

To find out more, contact 26TEN at
Local volunteers, Starting Point Neighbourhood House

Volunteers at Starting Point Neighbourhood House are successfully building their skills in literacy and numeracy so that they can help others in their community. The Neighbourhood House is running a project using a 26TEN grant and at the half-way point things are looking positive.

“What we have noticed is the astounding increase in confidence,” the Neighbourhood House team reported.

Their project, called Link Up!, trains their local volunteers to be mentors and literacy tutors for others in the community. Involving local community members in peer support benefits people by giving a level of comfort and understanding that makes people more comfortable to learn.

“All learners report that they feel supported and safe in their learning with the project,” they reported. “This is very affirming and exciting for us.”

Starting Point Neighbourhood House was formerly called Ravenswood Neighbourhood House and is in the Eastern suburbs of Launceston. It serves Ravenswood, Waverley and St Leonards. Their focus is on the development and sharing of local community assets. They have a range of educational and recreational programs, an Op Shop and Community Garden.

Volunteers count as employees when applying for a 26TEN grant

Wondering if you can apply for a 26TEN grant if your organisation operates with volunteers rather than employees? Grant coordinator, Jen Dunbabin, says she’s had a number of people ask her that question.

“Recently, 26TEN has approved a number of grants where the organisation’s workforce is mostly, or even all, volunteers,” said Jen. “They are implementing great projects and both the organisations and the volunteers get a lot out of it. We’re working with St Vincent de Paul, Launceston City Mission, North West Football League and Starting Point Neighbourhood House.”

Pictured: Local volunteers, Mary, Rosey & Liz, at Starting Point Neighbourhood House

Building Brighter Stronger Families Conference
A day to learn and focus on children, families and our future.

Building Brighter, Stronger Families is designed for parents, early childhood educators, family & support workers, social workers, child health professionals and others working with children and families.

Program participants will learn how to build brighter, stronger families within our community;  focusing on building resilience in our children and in our families through stronger literacy, social, economic and emotional connections.

Acclaimed childrens author and retired Associate Professor of Literacy Studies,  Mem Fox, will headline the program.

Joining Mem is the highly regarded psychologist and parent educator Steve Biddulph and renowned author, educator and parenting specialist Maggie Dent.

Youth, Family & Community Connections
Devonport, Tasmania
Register online at

Dates to remember
9 March Plain English workshop - Burnie LINC
11 March Building Brighter, Stronger Families Conference - Devonport
15 March ACSF validation and moderation for literacy practitioners
22 March Plain English workshop - Glenorchy LINC-  Fully booked look out for next workshop
5 May Plain English and the law with Michael Kirby. Time and venue to be confirmed


26TEN has been working with the Law Faculty at the University of Tasmania to help lecturers model and embed plain English in their teaching. In late 2016, Law Faculty staff  did plain language training with lawyer and trainer, Greg Moriarty from the Plain English Foundation.  In February they workshopped applying plain English to teaching materials in the law units, with language consultant Lea McInerney.

Senior Lecturer, Olivia Rundle, said that plain English plays a key role in making the law accessible.

“Plain English is important for the access to law that is so important in a democracy”, she said.

“It’s only fair and just that people understand the legal advice that their lawyer gives."

It’s been great to work with 26TEN on this and we are looking forward to passing on plain English skills to our students; the lawyers and policy makers of the future.”

Pictured: Lea McInerney, Language Consultant and Olivia Rundle, Senior Lecturer Law Faculty, UTAS


Lea McInerney and Olivia Rundle, Senior Lecturer Law Faculty, UTAS
New 26TEN team member

Mandy Keygan has joined the 26TEN team to build our network of members and supporters. She has worked with many communities and organisations on Tasmanian Government projects and is looking forward to meeting you.

Many of you reading this newsletter are already 26TEN members.  If you aren't or know of someone who would benefit from joining, then contact Mandy on  or 6165 5515.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others.

26TEN is a growing network of people and organisations committed to improving adult literacy and numeracy in Tasmania.

Business, community, government and individuals are working together to improve adult literacy and numeracy, because no organisation can do it alone.

For more information about 26TEN, please contact the 26TEN Team -

Christina Roscoe, Mandy Keygan, Allison Mitchell, Jennifer Dunbabin or Sue Costello.

(03) 6165 5515
1300 00 2610

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