The Literacy Hubs

We help communities across Portsmouth gain the literacy skills they need to thrive. Our first hub is The Pompey Pirates!

What We Do


We collaborate with local communities to create a range of literacy hubs across the area. Each hub will be designed to best support the literacy needs of the community it serves. Our first hub The Pompey Pirates provides 1-1 literacy catch up support for disadvantaged children aged 9-13. You can find out more about The Pompey Pirates, here.


We work with local communities to create a hub that best supports their literacy needs. This might involve young people or adults. Each hub will have a different approach because every community has different needs and this is the best way to create lasting change. Every hub will bring together local partners in our communities across Portsmouth where low levels of literacy are seriously impacting people’s lives. 


We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible volunteers. We are currently recruiting volunteers for The Pompey Pirates. Click here to find our more.

  • Our first hub, The Pompey Pirates, launched in the heart of the Charles Dickens Ward, Portsmouth in September 2020.
  • The Pompey Pirates provides an intensive, year long, catch up programme in a unique, creative and adventurous learning environment that inspires young people from the least advantaged communities to improve their literacy skills and fall in love with reading and writing. 
  • We created the Pompey Pirates project with the inspiration and support of our friends at The Literacy Pirates. 

Why are we needed?

Nearly a quarter of the children in Portsmouth live in poverty. In The Charles Dickens ward, home of the Pompey Pirates hub, 44.2% of children live in poverty. Children from low-income backgrounds are twice as likely to fall below expected levels of reading and writing by age 11 than their peers from wealthier homes. Therefore, they are already at least two years behind in reading ability when they start secondary school, putting them at a huge disadvantage.

Timely support given to a child who is falling behind with their literacy skills can stop them from falling further behind, catch them up with their peers and transform their life, giving them an equal chance to achieve their potential.


Due to school closures, our work has become even more crucial as the literacy gap between those less advantaged children and their peers has become even wider. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit the most from being in a school environment. They are the children facing the most challenging learning circumstances with schools closed. Their comparative lack of books, learning resources and technology has put them at a serious disadvantage. The Sutton Trust has reported that “School closures during the COVID-19 lock down could leave disadvantaged children with a learning loss of six months”.

Our first hub, The Pompey Pirates, supports schools in closing this gap. The programme provides literacy catch up support for children aged 9-13. For schools enquiring about our provision please complete our contact from.

Our Story

Our founder Becca Dean is a former English teacher. She is also is the Co-founder of the award wining charity The Girls’ Network. Becca is Portsmouth born and bred. She hosts a weekly radio show on Portsmouth’s local station Express FM. Through her work in the community, Becca saw first hand how poor levels of literacy was holding people back. Low literacy levels lead to reduced access to employment opportunities and has a significant impact on well-being. Becca believes that coordinated, local, action to raise literacy levels, will lead to increased educational attainment, employment and economic engagement across the city.

The Literacy Hubs is funded by:

The Literacy Hubs is a registered charity. Our charity number is: 1189791