Following a successful year-long pilot, a county-wide network of Get Into Reading groups is currently being rolled out across Devon libraries as part of a pioneering scheme to improve memory and mental wellbeing through shared reading.
Devon County Council were so impressed by the pilot groups in Tiverton and Exeter Central, that they have invested a further £100,000 for us to run five ‘Library Memory Groups‘ for those with memory loss conditions and their carers, as well as seven ‘Feel Better with a Book Groups’ for those wanting to lift their mood and engage with others for enjoyment and general support.
Cllr Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:
“The power of a good book is outstanding. Sharing reading as part of a groups is a really enjoyable experience, and can also help improve wellbeing, boost confidence, self-esteem and combat isolation. These groups can also help people find new ways of expressing feelings and understanding through sharing their thoughts, asking questions and discussing issues a story raises.
For those with memory loss conditions, listening to best loved poems and short stories can often remind them of important aspects of their own lives and stimulate memories, which is excellent.
Everyone’s general wellbeing can also benefit greatly from connecting with others or meeting new people. These groups offer this, as well as the enjoyment of sharing a great poem or short story.
I’m delighted that we are investing in this scheme, we must continue to do all we can to provide innovative ways to support people in living fulfilled lives for longer.
The small, friendly and relaxed groups are led by The Reader Organisation’s Project Workers, who read the stories and poems aloud, allowing people to come together and share the benefits making connections with literature and each other. Group members can join in with the reading and discussion as much or as little as they like.
If you’d like a taster of Get Into Reading, take a look at this video which shows how our South West team have been working across the region to improve health and wellbeing through shared reading: