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Help isolated older people in your community 

Written by Emma Walsh, 11th July 2017

Shared Reading brings a voice to the people who need it most 

A national charity based in Liverpool, has today invited 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, The Reader welcomes applications 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. 

For more information on how to apply, visit our website to become part of the story:  



For further information, please contact: Martin Gallagher-Mitchell,  
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, 0151 729 2200 


@thereaderorg #SharedReading 

About The Reader 

The Reader is an award-winning, charitable social enterprise which brings people together, changes lives and builds communities through sharing great literature. Our unique Shared Reading model brings small groups together each week to read aloud a story and poem with group discussion led by a trained Reader Leader. 

For over a decade The Reader has been working in partnership with CCGs, Public Health Bodies and NHS Trusts across the UK to support thousands of people with a wide range of health and social issues including, mental health conditions, dementia, chronic pain, isolation and recovery from substance misuse. 

The Reader have trained over 5000 people to deliver Shared Reading groups in their workplace or community through our innovative Read to Lead programme. 

Whether delivered by volunteers or Reader staff, Shared Reading offers people a practical way to improve well-being, build confidence and connect with others. 

The Reader currently supports Shared Reading in the following communities: 

Bournemouth, Bristol, Croydon, Dorset, Halton, Knowsley, Leicestershire, Liverpool, North Wales, Poole, Sefton, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, St Helens, Warrington, West London, Wigan, Wiltshire, and Wirral. 

For further information on these volunteer-led projects please visit our website:

Contact us

Get in touch and be part of the story
You can also speak to us on: 0151 729 2200
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