The Reader is a national charity which builds stronger, healthier communities through volunteer-led Shared Reading groups. The charity has been awarded £400,000 by players to help people affected by social isolation, mental health issues, and dementia across Great Britain.
The Reader brings people together through Shared Reading, a simple model which creates a positive impact for people of all ages and backgrounds. It particularly helps those affected by social isolation, mental health issues, or dementia. Weekly reading groups provide a friendly and welcome space where stories and poems are read aloud, and thoughts and reflections can be shared. Group members find personal meaning in the literature, improving their emotional wellbeing. Participants also form social connections with others, creating stronger and more supportive communities.
In a recent evaluation of group members' health and wellbeing, 93% reported that they felt better after attending a Shared Reading session. As well as this, 91% recognised improvements to their confidence and communications skills. The impact of Shared Reading is also felt by Reader Volunteers who lead the weekly groups, with over 90% reporting improved personal wellbeing, a greater sense of achievement, and feeling more connected to others.
The Reader currently supports over 500 specially-trained volunteers who deliver the majority of the 403 Shared Reading groups running nationally. The Reader is creating a people-led movement to bring communities together through Shared Reading, making groups accessible to everyone across the UK.
Jane Davis, Director of The Reader, said, "Shared Reading has the power to change lives and we want to make it possible for everyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, to find a group in their community.
"We want to bring Shared Reading to every postcode in England, Scotland and Wales, and with this award from players of People's Postcode Lottery, we’ll have the core funding to strengthen our movement and support the incredible work that our staff and volunteers do week in, week out right across the country. We want to say a huge thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for this incredible award."