News: October 2015

Matchmaker Joanne Hudson makes Number Partners count

Joanne Hudson is the dedicated Number Partners Coordinator at Leicestershire Cares that have been running Number Partners for nine years in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Joanne is the matchmaker introducing schools and businesses and setting them up on what she calls ‘blind dates.’ Like dating, there’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and first, but eventually sparks always fly!

As one teacher said, ‘children are now flying high, taking ownership and working more independently’. Teachers and school staff feel that 93% of pupils have made progress due to direct one to one support from their Number Partner. Each pupil has advanced in their learning journey to further their love for maths – because, after all, love is what dating is all about!

In the 2014-2015 academic year alone, Joanne and Leicestershire Cares have engaged 167 business and student volunteers and matched them with approximately 650 children in 34 schools. Volunteers build their confidence and motivation in the subject by playing maths games once a week during lunchtime.  Like any good matchmaker, Joanne selects schools carefully, looking for those that would benefit most from numeracy volunteering and that are within a short distance from the businesses involved.

Joanne has pioneered a student-led model of Number Partners with Loughborough University and Beauchamp College. She holds a ‘speed-dating’ session to select one seasoned student volunteer to lead and coordinate the group of students, who are asked to commit 15 ‘magic hours’ per year to the scheme.

Why ‘magic hours?’ Because, as Joanne says, ‘what we are doing with Number Partners is like waving a magic wand – volunteers are a lifeline to many children involved.’

Hearing about the great success of the schemes in Leicestershire, it seems that Joanne is the one waving the magic wand.  Joanne Hudson and Number Partners: it’s a match made in heaven.


To read more about the impact of the Number Partners scheme in Leicestershire, visit

If you are in the Leicestershire area and want to get involved, contact or get in touch with to find out more about setting up a scheme in your local area.