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Avid student readers and Lewisham College Learning Centre staff were delighted to have bagged the Gold Award in the annual Reading Ahead Challenge - if this were not good enough, they ranked 5th in the country and are only the second college in the list.

Now in its 12th year, Reading Ahead (run by the Reading Agency) is designed to engage new readers and help them to improve their literacy and language skills at the same time.

Reading Ahead aims to increase confidence in reading, particularly for those whose first language is not English.

Their impact evaluation this year reveals that: Those surveyed before and after taking part in Reading Ahead report an increase in enjoyment, confidence in reading and use of the library to borrow books;  •65% of all survey respondents feel more confident about reading and will read more after taking part in Reading Ahead;  •Organisations running Reading Ahead report 96% increased confidence in reading, 95% increased enjoyment, 92% increased frequency and 88% improved literacy skills.

Head of Learning Technology, Patricia Forrest said: "I'm so delighted that we have helped our students to learn to love reading - this is an amazing achievement and I want to recognise the staff who have helped make this happen. In particular Donna Rhoden who took charge of liaising with the Reading Agency and ESOL teachers to promote the Challenge. We are aiming for the Platium award next year!"