I was pleased to join over 100 The Reader volunteers and group members alongside Liverpool author Frank Cottrell-Boyce to celebrate a year of Shared Reading.
The national charity based in our Liverpool Wavertree constituency, aims to build stronger, healthier communities through volunteer-led Shared Reading groups held in a wide range of community, health, education and criminal justice settings.
It offers people the chance to read together and discuss short stories, novels, poems and fiction of all kinds. The shared reading groups bring pleasure and entertainment, and by talking about the text in some details offer readers the chance to reflect on their own lives and experiences, gain personal insights and understand others better.
I am a patron of The Reader’s North West project and was delighted to hear that in its first year, 319 volunteers have helped to double the number of weekly Shared Reading groups across the region.
It is a blue print that will help to bring Shared Reading groups to libraries, care homes, community centres and public spaces across the region in order to improve mental health and well-being and reduce social isolation.
The early success of this North West initiative is testament to the efforts of all volunteers who lead groups, the people who attend, the staff, and the funders who generously back the initiative.
The continued growth of Shared Reading across the North West will play an important role in breaking down social isolation and bringing communities together.
You can find out more about becoming a volunteer or joining a shared reading group by clicking here.