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Get into reading – now we are ten

Written by Emma Walsh, 1st September 2012

The Reader's Get Into Reading project celebrated its tenth birthday on Thursday 27 September at Wallasey Town Hall.

With its mission to ‘bring about a reading revolution’, the charity’s weekly read aloud groups have taken Shakespeare to supermarkets, poetry to prisons and Hardy to hospitals.

The first two Get Into Reading groups were set up in 2002, for young mothers and adult learners in Birkenhead, by the charity’s founder and director, Jane Davis.

Jane Davis says:

‘I wanted to get books into the hands of people like myself who needed them, so I set up Get Into Reading to bring books and people together.

People began to tell me: “This isn’t just reading, this is good for my health, you should be getting paid by the NHS”.’

Ten years later and The Reader delivers more than one hundred groups across Wirral, working with a diverse range of partners, including Wirral Libraries, Wirral PCT,  Forum Housing, Wirral Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Egremont Primary and Woodchurch High schools. Each week the charity are reading with hundreds of people, aged 3 to 103, to improve confidence, wellbeing, social engagement and to extend a love of literature.

Cllr Chris Meaden, Wirral’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, said:

“Wirral Council’s partnership work with the Reader Organisation has left a legacy of supportive and fun reading groups and targeted projects for residents of all ages to enjoy.

‘We have been pleased to welcome them into our libraries to inspire a love of reading in the community and look forward to continuing our successful partnership.”

Impacts of the groups include increased personal confidence and reduced social isolation, improved emotional and psychological wellbeing, greater stability and support, and a growing love of books.

A group member from Birkenhead, Wirral said:

‘I LOVE the reading group - it’s done so much for me, it really has. It’s been my salvation.’

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