Charity’s decade of devotion to joy of reading

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People reading. Pic © The Reader Twitter

A Liverpool-based charity is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of using shared reading to improve lives.

The Reader charity, which began its work in 2008, has spread across Merseyside and the North West, to bring the joy of reading to people who may not otherwise get the chance to experience literature.

Working within communities, as well as with disadvantaged groups in society, such as looked-after children, prisoners and the elderly, the charity aims to bring them benefits from reading.

Volunteers give up their spare time to read with the groups, which they suggest has been proven to promote wellbeing, reduce social isolation, build stronger communities and improve lives.

Emma Walsh, The Reader’s communication assistant, told JMU Journalism: “Shared reading groups are where a few people will come together weekly and a trained reader leader chooses a piece of literature to read aloud.

“The group will then discuss what it means to them, and that kind of process makes people connect with literature and connect with each other in a way they might not have done before.”

YouTube: Chloe George

The Reader was founded by University of Liverpool lecture,r Jane Davies. Recently, the charity has collaborated with the university to discover the effects shared reading can have on a person’s wellbeing.

The Reader. Pic © by Chloe George/ JMU Journalism

Emma said: “We have started to see the impact of it in real terms over the 10 years, with research we have done alongside the University of Liverpool we have seen that it improves mental health, helps prevent social isolation and helps people to feel more connected.”

The Reader is based in Calderstones Park and from there they run groups and sessions through their café, ice-cream parlour and gallery. The proceeds go towards funding the charity.

Liverpool City Council has recently donated the mansion house in Calderstones Park to the charity, in which they plan to build a community hub and library for Liverpool residents.

Work is set to begin on that project this month, with hopes that it will be completed within the next year and a half.