Volunteering in Croydon

Do you want to make a difference in your community? Do you like meeting new people and sharing thoughts and ideas? Do you love literature?

“It’s not just the reading, it’s the being together.”

The Reader are recruiting new Reader Leaders to deliver weekly Shared Reading sessions for older people in community settings across Croydon. In Shared Reading groups we bring people together to read stories and poems aloud, share our thoughts and feelings in a friendly and relaxed environment, usually over a cup of tea and some biscuits. As we read aloud together, our own stories unfold, people form connections with the literature and with each other.

This simple thing changes lives. Shared Reading is proven to improve well-being, reduce social isolation and build stronger communities.

“This is the best thing in my week, I really look forward to it.”

In partnership with City Bridge Trust, we’re recruiting volunteers to read with older people in Croydon to help reduce social isolation and improve well-being. Volunteers will receive full training and support from The Reader and will discover a new way of reading and sharing it with others.

Reader Leaders will:

  • Begin their Reader journey with our flagship Read to Lead training programme. Volunteers will be given a fully-funded place on the course, usually costed at £750 per person, which provide valuable and transferable skills in communication, facilitation, reading and leadership.
  • Deliver weekly 1.5hr Shared Reading sessions for older people in a community setting
  • Choose and prepare reading materials (stories and poems) in advance of each reading session. Volunteers will have access to The Reader’s large online database and a selection of printed anthologies
  • Create a safe and welcoming environment, taking into account the additional needs groups members may have, particularly older people
  • Share Welcome Packs with new readers
  • Maintain reading records for each Shared Reading session and collection monitoring and evaluation data as required

“We’re all pleased about you coming! We feel like somebody cares. We didn’t know what to expect when we first started the group but what we got was lovely! It makes you feel important, that you matter.”

In addition to the experience of working with an award-winning national charity, and the personal fulfillment of enriching the lives of isolated older people in Croydon, Reader Leaders will:

  • Receive monthly group supervision with the Croydon team where volunteers can raise any issues or concerns, exchange advice, information and literary suggestions
  • Gain full access to The Reader’s membership platform which includes resources to advertise and organise Shared Reading groups and a vast range of reading materials
  • Be invited to Thank You social events which will recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution of our volunteers


Volunteers do not need to have a literature degree or be university educated, but should be able to appreciate and engage with great literature and encourage others to do so too. Volunteers must be DBS checked for this role, but please note that a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify an individual from volunteering. 

We also ask that volunteers:

  • Live in the London Borough of Croydon
  • Can commit to 3-4 hours volunteering per week. Shared Reading groups may be run in pairs which can offer some flexibility with time commitment.
  • Can commit to the project for a minimum period of 6 months to ensure continuity when establishing new groups.
  • Are reliable and flexible
  • Can demonstrate good organisational, time management and interpersonal skills
  • Are patient with those unable to communicate clearly and/or are less confident
  • Are able to ask for help when needed
  • Have a warm, calm and friendly manner that reflects The Reader’s ethos and values
  • Have ability to remain resilient and show compassion to others
  • Can read clearly and loudly and can facilitate conversation related to the text (further training and guidance on this will be provided)

Full induction and training sessions must be completed before a volunteer can start their placement. The training will comprise of one full Foundation Day before beginning a reading session and three subsequent half day training sessions throughout the first three months of practice.

 The next dates for training are:

We’ll be recruiting for volunteers again later in 2018. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook, sign up to our Mailing List to keep up to date with all the latest from Croydon, or email us directly below to express interest in volunteering in Croydon.


Get in touch and be part of the story…

For more information contact Bryony Littlefair:

07812 238375

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