The Reader needs new volunteers to bring great literature to life with older people in Cheshire

Try Shared Reading and find out more about reading one-to-one at The Great Get Together at Storyhouse on Friday 21 June

National charity The Reader and local over-50s support network Brightlife are on the hunt for 12 volunteers in Cheshire to join a new scheme launching in the county. 

Volunteers get a transformative, one-day training course on the essentials of Shared Reading and will then visit an older person each week at home to read aloud together. 

Shared Reading – bringing great novels, poems and plays to life through live reading aloud and discussion – is a powerful experience that sparks connection, reflection and discovery.  

It has been shown to have positive improvements on mood, concentration and social interaction, including for people living with dementia. 

The person being read with may be living in their own home, or in a care home, hospice or sheltered housing. In certain situations, the sessions may go ahead with a family member or friend too. 

Meet The Reader at The Great Get Together happening at Storyhouse from Thursday 20 June – Saturday 22 June. Drop in on Friday 21 June at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm to try Shared Reading. Find out more here

If you’d like to know more about training to read one-to-one in July or October, email annamccracken@thereader.org.uk.  

If you or someone you know would benefit from one-to-one Shared Reading, contact annamccracken@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 729 220 for more information. 

The Reader already supports more than 500 Shared Reading groups to happen up and down the country each week thanks to a growing movement of 1,000 volunteers. There are 12 Shared Reading groups across Cheshire happening with the support of Brightlife, the West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership. Six are open for the public to drop in: 

Tuesdays 

Wishing Well Centre, Crewe, 1.30pm – 3pm. 

Wednesdays 

GIFT Café Chester, Grosvenor Park, 2pm – 3pm. 

Thursdays 

Crewe Library 1pm – 2.30pm. 

Tarporley Library, 2.30pm – 4pm, (2nd and 4th Thursday of the month). 

Fridays 

Just Footprints, 10.30am – 11.30am. 

Storyhouse, Chester, 2pm – 3.30pm. 

Local volunteer Laura Prime, who runs three Shared Reading groups in Cheshire, said: “I found out about The Reader when I wasn’t well. Everything was medical – ‘managing this’, ‘managing that’ when I really couldn’t manage anything. 

“After coming to a group, the Reader Leader said it’s something I could do too. In the end, I picked it up and ran with it, and I’ve been involved for three years now. I often tell people that I read myself better. 

“I think everybody should read, get into a bit of a fantasy world, a world that’s not their own – and it’s so important that everybody has somebody to read with. One of my ladies said ‘I haven’t been read to for 50 years and it’s wonderful’.” 

“There are more than a million elderly people who are chronically lonely in the UK,” explains The Reader’s founder and director Jane Davis. “We need people who’ve got a bit of time to spare, and believe in the power of great literature to transform lives, to change someone’s life in Cheshire.” 

Chris Mitchell from Brightlife said: “Brightlife are delighted to be supporting this Shared Reading initiative. We understand and value the vital role volunteers play in providing opportunities for older people to take part in activities that are rewarding, and also, it meets our aim to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older people in our area.” 

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