Welcome to The Reader

We are the pioneers of Shared Reading – a simple idea that changes lives. 

By bringing people together to read great literature aloud we are improving well-being, reducing social isolation and building stronger communities across the UK and beyond. 

We want to make Shared Reading so widespread that everyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, can access one of our groups. To make that possible we’re building a movement of Readers. Could you be part of the story? 

“You need it, you just don’t know you need it”
Shared Reading group member

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Volunteer – We need you!


Do you enjoy discovering and sharing great stories and poems? Love meeting new people? Want to make a difference in your local community?

If so, Shared Reading could be just the thing for you.

And you could be just the person for us.


Why Volunteer?

    • New skills, new challenges
    • A real sense of achievement
    • Read more, read differently
    • Meet new people
    • Make a difference in your local community

• 95% of volunteers feel more connected to other people*
• 97% of volunteers gain a sense of achievement.*

We’re building a movement of volunteers to bring Shared Reading to communities across the UK so that everyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, can find a group near them. To make this happen WE NEED YOUR HELP!

How can you get involved?

Avg 4 hours p/w
Commitment: Flexible, hands-on
Commitment: Flexible, light touch
“The Reader is the best organisation I have ever belonged to, as a group member and a volunteer”

Read Joyce’s Story

“As a volunteer for The Reader, you don’t feel like you’re working for them – you’re working with them”

Read Helen’s Story

” I’ve been telling everyone about Shared Reading and I don’t go anywhere without a few flyers in my bag to pass on”
Read John’s Story
Not quite sure how you can help? Pop your details in the form below and let’s have a chat.
There’s lots of ways to get involved, whether it’s reading on a hospital ward, setting up a group in a care home, or telling someone about Shared Reading in their local library – you can be part of the story!




The Reader will use the data you provide to contact you about relevant volunteering opportunities in your area and to understand how people find out volunteering with us (‘legitimate interests’). We’ll only keep your personal data for as long as you want to be contacted by us. All of our email communications will give you the opportunity to unsubscribe from our mailing lists. If you’re still on our mailing list after two years we’ll get back in contact to check you’re still happy to hear from us. We will not sell or pass on your details to any third parties. If you have any queries please contact The Reader’s Data Compliance Manager using the contact details at the bottom of this page. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are unhappy with our response. The data we collect is stored securely in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, GDPR and The Reader’s Data Protection Policy, which is available on request. All queries should be directed to: The Data Compliance Manager, The Reader, Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool, L18 3JB Tel: 0151 729 2200 Email: data@thereader.org.uk You must be be aged over 13 to submit your data.

*out of 39 respondents, September 2016 – February 2017

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Become a friend

Make your story part of ours

In Liverpool’s Calderstones Park, and in Shared Reading groups across the UK, The Reader brings people together and books to life. From magical children’s storytelling, to Shared Reading in care homes, we open up the wonderful world of literature to people young and old. Our work is proven to help reduce social isolation, improve health and well-being, develop skills and build communities.

“The reading groups are a different kind of medicine and it’s through them that I’ve found a way back to life.”
Daniel, Shared Reading Group Member, Birkenhead

We’re now opening a new chapter for The Reader and we’d like you to be part of it. We want to:

  • grow our national movement of volunteer Readers to bring Shared Reading to more people in the communities in which they live.
  • build a community at Calderstones Park that is based around reading and the wonderful heritage and nature on site.

Like anybody with a dream, we need Friends to help us make it a reality.

What do you get as a Reader Friend?

Every year we want to do something to bring The Reader Friends together. In 2018, along with our Patron, award-winning novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, Cosmic, 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony), we will get in touch to ask for something that means something truly special to you. Frank will create The Reader Friends’ story from your contributions. Your story will become part of ours.

As well as this unique way of being part of The Reader, Friends will also receive:

  • a welcome pack including a tote bag and a copy of The Reader’s anthology Poets Don’t Lie — the perfect addition to any bookshelf.
  • a Friends card entitling you 20% off all in-person purchases at The Reader Café, Ice Cream Parlour, and The Storybarn.
  • an exclusive quarterly newsletter, keeping you up to date on the impact of your support.
  • a personal invitation to the launch of The International Centre for Shared Reading at Calderstones.

Families can take advantage of all of these benefits plus four tickets to The Storybarn, The Reader’s interactive story centre for children at Calderstones Park, for £6 per month (£72 per year).

Pass it forward. Reader Friendship makes a unique present for any occasion while making a real difference in the community.

Become a friend now

If you would like to pay via direct debit, please download and complete this form, and return it to us via email.

Email friends@thereader.org.uk for more information or call
0151 729 2200.

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National Poetry Day and The Reader: Inspiring Change through Poetry

The Reader is inspiring people everywhere to get together on National Poetry Day to share and discover poetry, old and new. To celebrate the occasion, The Reader has curated a special collection of poems on this year’s National Poetry Day theme – Poetry for a Change. Including poems from Thomas Hardy, Gillian Clarke, and Leontia …

History is unearthed as Neolithic Calder Stones begin conservation journey

The Neolithic Calder Stones, one of the region’s most important archaeological artefacts, are embarking on a vital conservation journey this week lovingly overseen by national charity, The Reader. The excavation of the Stones is the centrepiece of a series of public engagement events taking place in Calderstones Park to celebrate Heritage Open Days.   The Calder Stones, which are as old as Stonehenge and provide …

For comment, interviews or information, please email martingallagher@thereader.org.uk

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