Welcome to The Reader

“You need it, you just don’t know you need it”

Shared Reading group member

Since 2008, The Reader has pioneered the use of Shared Reading to improve well-being, reduce social isolation and build resilience in diverse communities across the UK and beyond.

We inspire and support people to read great literature aloud together. This simple idea changes lives and builds communities.

Use the menu above to discover what we do or scroll down to find out more about Shared Reading North West and The Big Give Read to Lead.

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Shared Reading North West

Shared Reading North West

The Reader is building a volunteer-led movement across the North West.

Shared Reading has been proven to promote better health and well-being, to increase social inclusion and we want to make it part of every community across the North West. We’re bringing people together to build a region-wide, volunteer-led movement and we want to hear from you!

Could you run a Shared Reading group in your workplace or local library? Could you help to spread the word of new Shared Reading groups in your area? Do you have the experience or skills to support other volunteers?

Volunteers will become part of region-wide network and will receive full training and ongoing support.

Get in touch and be part of the story…


For further information on these volunteering opportunities come along to a Shared Reading Information Workshop – you’ll find all the details of our upcoming events here:

Date/Time Event
Thursday 27 July 2017
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Halton Lea Library Halton Lea Library, Runcorn
Friday 28 July 2017
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Widnes Library Widnes Library, Kingsway Learning Centre, Widnes
Friday 4 August 2017
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Formby Library Formby Library, Liverpool
Thursday 10 August 2017
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Widnes Library Widnes Library, Kingsway Learning Centre, Widnes
Friday 11 August 2017
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Wigan Belong Atherton, Atherton
Friday 18 August 2017
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Shared Reading Information Workshop: Halton Lea Library Halton Lea Library, Runcorn

Already attended a Shared Reading Information Workshop?


If you have already attended a Shared Reading Information Workshop and are interested in one of our volunteering roles, click here to send us your details. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

For more details email volunteer@thereader.org.uk 

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Apply to The Big Give Read to Lead

Help isolated older people in your community 

The Reader is inviting applications from across the country, for a new training programme which aims to reduce social isolation and improve the mental health and well-being of older people. Fully-funded for two years, applications are welcome from community groups, individuals and small organisations who wish to bring their unique Shared Reading model to their community, creating something real and meaningful for isolated older residents.  

Shared Reading improves well-being, reduces social isolation and builds stronger communities, as one 95-year-old lady who read one-to-one with a Reader Volunteer in Wirral said:

It really brightens my day, because I don’t see anybody some days, so when the Reader Volunteer comes on a Tuesday morning, it brightens my week. We do something different, the poems and the stories we read are different each time and we have such a good discussion about them. It’s a one-to-one discussion – why we enjoyed it, what we think it’s all about, you really get to the bottom of it. It gives me something to think about, something extra to think about and I really, truly enjoy it.” 

In December 2016, The Reader launched a three-day fundraising campaign as part of the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge. Supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the Postcode Support Trust, The Reader raised over £50,000 and was named Best UK Charity in the Christmas Challenge Awards. This funding has already trained 15 new volunteer Reader Leaders and provided increased support and ongoing training for over 50 existing volunteers currently reading with older people at risk of social isolation. 

With the remaining funds, The Reader plans to create a new Shared Reading community in an area where they do not currently work. Under this new community-led project, The Reader will train 12 additional Reader Leaders and provide a bespoke programme of learning and support worth over £10,000. 

This is an exciting opportunity for passionate and motivated people to become part of a collaborative movement and build a long-term, sustainable Shared Reading community dedicated to supporting older people. All applicants must be able to self-fund any travel or accommodation costs incurred by attending the Read to Lead training course which will take place from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 August. The location of the course will be determined by the strength and spread of successful applications. 

How to apply:

All applicants must be able to commit to:

  • Attending ALL course dates in August (Tuesday 29 – Thursday 31)
  • A two-year programme of involvement
  • Providing regular communications and reports to The Reader, including evaluation and monitoring of activities and case studies
  • Self-funding any travel or accommodation costs incurred 

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 21 July. Please read the role description and either complete the application form below or download the editable version and email to learning@thereader.org.uk before the closing date.

Role Description

Application Form (Editable)

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Join us at a #SharedReading Information Workshop near you to discover #volunteering opportunties across North West… https://t.co/fxDU4g21L0 
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RT @londonkoreanist:I'm currently doing this in Manchester & it's one of the best things I've ever done, so. https://t.co/8GbcFCs3TZ