The Reader is a national charity bringing about a reading revolution so that everyone can experience and enjoy great literature, which it believes is a tool for helping people survive and live well.
The charity will soon be launching a number of new initiatives so that Shared Reading can continue to reach people as we all face the COVID-19 pandemic together.
By making reading resources available digitally and running online and telephone reading sessions, The Reader will bring people together through literature and shared reading, helping to build meaningful connections and combat loneliness. This is thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery. For news and daily readings that can help, follow @thereaderorg on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit The Reader's website for updates.
Reducing Social Isolation
Over the years, The Reader has brought thousands of people together to share and discuss great novels, short stories and poems - live and aloud - in Shared Reading groups. The groups, which are free to attend and open to everyone, help to improve wellbeing, reduce isolation and build stronger communities.
There are currently more than 500 groups across Britain, supporting 1,000 volunteers and reaching 13,000 people a year in community centres, libraries, care homes, hospitals, prisons, secure units and workplaces.
Close personal relationships are vital in helping everyone - regardless of age, life situation or background - to get through the moments when our lives can feel stuck.
By bringing people together on a weekly basis, Shared Reading improves social connection for both group members and the volunteers who lead the groups.
Together In Testing Times
Thanks to more than £1.6 Million of support from our players, Shared Reading has reached more communities than ever; from Shropshire to London, Cornwall to Salford and everywhere in between.
The St Cuthbert's Centre in Earls Court is a drop-in and therapeutic centre for vulnerable and socially-isolated people. A service-user, who lives and works part-time in the local area, has been coming to the St Cuthbert's group for more than six months. They said:
"What I like is that it is free and welcoming to everyone, not just for certain people - loneliness is not only old people, it's young people and immigrants and everyone. Everyone here is sharing thoughts which helps us to connect with each other. There is no judgement, we are free to say what we want and respect each other. If we started to judge, people would stop participating, but here we don't judge and there is time for each of us to speak."
As we all face uncertain times ahead, Shared Reading's power to help us to create human connections, connect with ourselves and engage with meaningful thoughts is needed more now than ever.