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Shared Reading supports men’s mental health in Sefton

Written by Francesca Dolan, 21st February 2022

A new weekly Shared Reading group launching at The Reach Men’s Centre in March will provide a vital means of social and wellbeing support for men in Sefton.

The Reach Men’s Centre, based in South Sefton, provides a range of services aimed at reducing isolation and improving the mental health of men in the area. It already runs support groups where men can meet to share experiences, socialize and access courses and other services.

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, three staff at the centre have been trained to deliver Shared Reading – the simple yet powerful idea first pioneered by The Reader over 20 years ago.

Shared Reading provides a friendly and welcoming space where people are brought together in small groups to read great stories and poems aloud, while sharing their thoughts and reflections. There’s no pressure to read or speak and no prior experience is needed. Groups are drop in and free of charge.

Sandra Bell, Managing Director at The Reach Men’s Centre, said: “We’ve seen a substantial increase in the need for our service since the pandemic. Over the past year, 135 men have accessed our counselling and drop-in services.

“We feel our centre is a great place for men to chat openly about mental health in a safe space, over a cup of tea and a game of pool. Shared Reading is a great addition to this so we’re delighted to get this group up and running.”

One Reach service user who recently took part in a Shared Reading taster session added: “I found it very interesting. I enjoyed the social side and being able to share views with others.” Helen Wilson, Head of Shared Reading Programmes at The Reader said: “We’re grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support of this group which will make such a positive difference to the men in The Reach Centre’s local community.

“The group is open to new and existing users of Reach’s services so whether or not you’ve been in touch with them before, contact them directly to find out more.”

Shared Reading at The Reach Men’s Centre begins on Friday 4 March and will run every week between 10-11am. No prior reading experience is needed, drop in or call 07504 565 764 for details.

For details of other Shared Reading groups in Sefton and the Liverpool City Region, visit

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