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The Reader seeks volunteers to read with people living with dementia in Wigan 

Written by Francesca Dolan, 31st January 2022

The Reader is looking for volunteers who want to improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia across Wigan and Leigh. 

Up to 30 new volunteers are needed to help the charity run weekly Shared Reading sessions for people with, or at risk of, dementia supported by care homes, charities and community organisations. The Shared Reading groups are funded by the NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group.  

Shared Reading brings people together in small groups on a weekly basis to read aloud from a book, short story or poem. Research has shown that it can improve the quality of life for those living with dementia as well as benefit those who care for them.  

Anne has been attending a group in Atherton for several years and said: “I first came to the group with my husband who had dementia and since he died, I’ve continued to come. It has given me great pleasure to read with other people even though it’s not something I would normally do. It’s great in a sharing capacity because people see different things in what we read and I enjoy the company of the other members of the group.”  

The Reader is currently running groups in Ash Tree House Care Home, Wigan Archives, Windsor House Care Home, Worthington Lake Care Home, Norley Hall Care Home Wigan Central Day Centre, Etherstone Day Centre, Atherton Library. More groups are planned to open as new volunteers are recruited and trained. 

One volunteer who leads a Shared Reading group in a care home, said: “What I find most satisfying is the circle of sharing. I share the literature with the group and the group members share their time, thoughts and feelings with one another and with me. I always take something away from it.” 

Rab Ferguson who leads The Reader’s work in Wigan and Leigh said: “If you’re out there looking for a purposeful and rewarding way to put your time and skills to use then becoming a Reader Leader could be what you need.  

“There are lots of benefits to being part of our warm, kind and connected community of Readers, including training, support and plenty of reading resources. Most importantly of all though, this is an opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives. Seeing the literature awaken memories and prompt conversations, and witnessing what this does for people really is wonderful.” 

For out more about volunteering with The Reader, visit the website or email 

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