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Coronavirus – pressing pause

Written by Rachael Norris, 16th March 2020

In response to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, The Reader has decided to suspend its activities in communities across the UK for the time being.

As there’s now a necessity for us all to help shield older or otherwise vulnerable people from contact with coronavirus, as well as to look after ourselves, we feel that now is the right time to take this step.

Today’s announcement affects:

  • all community-based Shared Reading groups led by volunteers and staff up and down the country;
  • 121 reading sessions with children, young people and families;
  • weekly Shared Reading and wellbeing groups at run by The Reader at Calderstones (Poetry Walks, Gardening, Upcycling, Art for All, Happy Houseplants, Language Café, Make Time, Screamy Reads, Knit and Knatter, Chatty Café, Heritage tours, Board Games Club).

Staying in touch

We realise that perhaps now, more than at any other time, it’s important for us to keep in touch with our group members and volunteers.  As we all know, reading can be such a help in tough times.

With this in mind, from tomorrow (Tuesday 17 March), we will be operating a hotline number for volunteers and group members who want to contact us with questions or concerns about any of our groups.

Call the hotline: 0151 729 2250 between the hours of 10.00 – 16.00, Monday – Friday or

Email us:



Volunteers looking for more information, can head over to the membership website here.

That’s also the place to sign up for regular updates via our volunteer newsletters – register for those here if you don’t already receive them.


Group members

Group members can call the hotline to register their contact details safely and securely to receive updates from us. Staff at The Reader are currently exploring ways in which we might be able to carry on reading together in the weeks ahead and we’d like to share our plans with as many group members as possible when the time is right.


Information about Calderstones

The Reader Café, Ice Cream Parlour and Storybarn remain open for now, and all ticketed events are planned to continue as normal.

The Shop and Heritage area of the Mansion House have been closed temporarily. We will be keeping this under review and it may change.

If you are a Shop or Heritage volunteer and would still like to come in to help on the Welcome Desk, please contact Julie McAdam via email at or via the hotline (0151 729 2250) if you’d like to do this.


And finally …

We’d like to extend a warm thank you to all our group members, volunteers, customers and supporters during what is a challenging time for us all by sharing a poem with you, read by our founder, Jane.


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