Celebrating Heritage Open Days at The Reader’s Courtyard Fair!

Heritage tours, Shared Reading sessions, poetry readings, market stalls, book giveaways, Storybarn sessions, bouncy castle, facepainting and all the seasons in one day at The Reader’s Courtyard Fair!

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Volunteers Week: Volunteering at Calderstones Mansion

Calderstones Mansion House c Dave JonesSince we set up home in Calderstones Mansion House, there’s been lots for us to do – not only in running shared reading groups and a range of activities for the local community, but also get a thriving cafe up and running, hold a series of seasonal events from summer fairs to Christmas grottos and make sure that the Mansion is a warm and welcoming place to be, with its doors wide open (Monday-Friday as well as the occasional weekend).

It’s been no easy feat, and our volunteers at Calderstones have helped every step of the way, taking on a variety of roles that go beyond what we usually do – although rest assured, reading will always get in one way or another…

Our Calderstones Volunteer Manager Gillian Moore introduces us to three of our ever-growing team:

Janet

Janet joined us at Calderstones earlier this year and covers one shift every Thursday between 9:00/12:30 on Reception at the Mansion House. Janet had been going to the Penny Readings every year for some time and had promised herself that she’d find out more about The Reader Organisation and shared reading. Although she didn’t ever get round to that, she followed up an advert for volunteering opportunities with the Merseyside Volunteer Reader Scheme. Janet recognised that she wasn’t in a position to commit the time the project was going to require of her and, luckily for us at Calderstones, accepted the suggestion that there was likely to be an alternative role (and therefore time commitment) at the Mansion House.

Janet’s pleased to have found Calderstones and feels it was a better decision for her because her volunteering activity here fits much better around her existing commitments. She loves the building and the park environment and is a real people person so values the opportunity to interact with everybody visiting the Mansion House. Her responsibilities as a Volunteer Reception Assistant are to meet and greet, answer the phone, direct callers, email messages to staff, show people to rooms and (she’s being very hard on herself here) turn on the computer, forget the password and have to phone for help!

The best things about the role have been:

  • Meeting new people
  • Finding and reconnecting with people
  • Getting to know what’s happening
  • Being kept on her toes!

Janet’s advice to anybody thinking of volunteering with TRO would be:

  • There’s so much to gain
  • It beats sitting at home and watching daytime TV
  • Meet new people
  • It’ll broaden your outlook
  • There’s a big world out there if you’re prepared to make the effort
  • It’s worthwhile and rewarding

Since joining volunteering  Janet has reread Heidi by Johanna Spyri – she remembers it as book she loved as a child!

Amanda

Amanda’s also a Volunteer Reception Assistant since October/November 2014 , having seen the role description on The Reader Organisation’s website when she was looking for childrens’ activities here. She liked the sound of the role as well as the location being close enough to school to pick up her son at the end of his day. Amanda covers Reception on Monday and Wednesday between 12:30/2:30pm. She looks after and tidies Reception so that it creates a welcome for everybody, she greets visitors, answers the phone and passes on messages to members of staff. She’s also really good at liaising with other Volunteer Reception Assistants when there have been gaps in the rota!

Amanda enjoys the role and especially appreciates meeting new people. She’d say to anyone thinking of volunteering with The Reader at Calderstones, ‘Do it! You’d really like it. It’s a lovely place to work’, and the best book she’s read since beginning to volunteer is The Big Monster’s Night Out (to Harry aged 3!)

A

A came to volunteering here at Calderstones through the Volunteer Centre and was looking to build on skills gained previously through college courses in catering. At that point, about 12 months ago, A had never heard of The Reader but came in to find out more about volunteering in The Reader Café, liked what he was hearing about the opportunities there’d be for skills and confidence development and decided initially to offer one day of his time to the café team. Since then, A has increased his offer of time to three days a week! A likes supporting front of house, making coffee and other hot drinks, taking orders and payments, as well as taking turn about at the sink and clearing tables.

A likes that as a volunteer he doesn’t need to take on as much responsibility as a paid member of the team – it provides him with greater freedom. He’s definitely learned some new skills and in becoming more aware of the ways in which other people within the café team pay attention to their health and wellbeing he’s felt inspired to take more control of his own and has become much fitter as a result.

The best things about volunteering for A are:

  • It keeps him busy
  • He meets new people
  • It’s been a new and positive experience
  • He’s accountable but without the same pressure as paid staff

The best thing A’s read since he’s been volunteering is a short story called Powder by Tobias Woolf which he read in one of our shared reading groups.

If you’d like to know more about volunteering at Calderstones, see our website or contact gillianmoore@thereader.org.uk

The Reader Organisation’s Review of 2014: Part 2

Yesterday we brought you the first part of our highlights from 2014 – from feeling Better with a Book to Shakespeare to a visit from a Royal guest…

Here’s the second part of what happened at The Reader Organisation this year:

Book Close UpResearch

Our research partners CRILS at the University of Liverpool are seeking to set the world agenda in reading, health and wellbeing and the role of literature in modelling creative thinking about human existence. Contributing to a growing evidence base, three new reports were published this year by CRILS with partners including the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen NHS Hospital Trust which demonstrate the impacts of shared reading to participants in groups in a range of settings.

Specific studies examining a literature-based intervention for people living with chronic pain and development of research into how shared reading improves quality of life for people living with dementia brought forth a number of positive findings, and the intrinsic cultural value of The Reader Organisation’s weekly shared reading groups in providing a meaningful experience for different sectors of communities was also brought into the spotlight. All three reports can be read in detail on our website.

Courses

This year we created many more shared reading practitioners around the UK and internationally with our revolutionary Read to Lead course. We’ve worked with a range of organisations in places including Calderstones Mansion House, Sheffield, Leicester, Derry, Durham, Devon, and Flanders in Belgium – equipping hundreds of people with the skills to share reading in their workplaces and communities.

Our Ongoing Learning programme brought more Masterclasses touring around the country, and there was a brilliant programme of Short Courses for Serious Readers throughout the year discovering a wealth of great literature from varying topics and eras including The Divine Comedy by Dante, a Whizz-tour through the World of Children’s Literature and learning to Feel the Fear and Read it Anyway with selections of challenging literature.

Awards

Klasse_Jane_Davis-0053-bewerkt 72 dpiWe were delighted to have our impact recognised on a local and national scale by being shortlisted for the Culture Champion award in the Powerful Together Awards for Social Enterprises across Merseyside and the Resilence category at the RBS SE100 Awards – both amazing achievements.

Our Founder and Director Jane Davis was nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Northern heats and shortlisted for Social Enterprise UK’s Women’s Champion Award.

Other highlights

There were plenty of other wonderful things we took part in this year, including a global celebration of reading aloud on World Read Aloud Day, bringing shared reading to the bill at Latitude Festival, combining poetry with the great outdoors on World Mental Health Day and delivering taster sessions at the Literary Kitchen Festival in South London.

This year also saw the expansion of our work into other areas of communal life, namely the opening of The Reader Cafe and The Reader Gallery at Calderstones Mansion House, which have been bustling with people enjoying local exhibitions and a scrumptious selection of food and drink alongside a poem.

G31A7233In September, we signed a lease with Liverpool City Council for Calderstones Mansion House giving us residency for 125 years, allowing us to begin the next stages of development for the International Centre for Reading – and we also relocated our Head Office to the beautiful surroundings of Calderstones too.

Shared reading

Great literature remains at the heart of what we do and this year we expanded the core of our work, bringing shared reading and its benefits to even more people across the country. We began new projects for people with dementia/memory loss and their carers in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, enabled more volunteers to join us to share reading in London, North Wales, South West and Leicestershire, began a pioneering project with service users, staff and volunteers at Phoenix Futures and employed our first Reader-in-Residence in Sheffield.

Without doubt the best of our highlights come from our Readers who shared their remarkable stories with us, including Shad, D and A.

“Like a person who is discovering his senses I am becoming aware of the wonders of existence that I once took for granted,  but that was cruelly snatched from me by adverse circumstances… I am once again discovering the joy of settling down to a good read.”

Our thanks go out to everyone who has supported us throughout the year – our work could not continue without the valued input of so many people. We hope to keep reading with you for years to come!

You can read more about our work in our Annual Report 2013/14, available on our website.

We’ll be back in the New Year, and until then wish you all a very happy and peaceful festive season.

 

Much Ado About Nothing: Only two weeks to go!

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Much Ado About Nothing by The Globe on Tour at Brighton Festival

The countdown has now begun!

The Globe on Tour is returning to Calderstones Mansion House this June for five remarkable performances of Much Ado About Nothing. Following last year’s showstopping version of King Lear, the Garden Theatre will once more be brought to life with one of Shakespeare’s liveliest and most well-loved comedies – all in less than two weeks time.

Performances

Thursday 12th June, 7:30pm

Friday 13th June, 2:30pm

Friday 13th June, 7:30pm

Saturday 14th June, 2:30pm

Saturday 14th June, 7:30pm

Driven along by a romance all the more charming for being in denial, Much Ado About Nothing is a miracle of comic and dramatic suspense and gives us, in the bantering  Beatrice and Benedick, two of Shakespeare’s wittiest, most endearing pair of lovers.

BOOK NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT!

Bookings can be made on The Globe’s website https://tickets.shakespearesglobe.com

Full priced tickets: £20

Discounted tickets for group members: £15

Further information

This spectacular performance is taking place in Calderstones Mansion House Garden Theatre, and will go ahead in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Audiences are advised to prepare for any weather conditions – waterproof and warm clothing should be packed as necessary – and please bring a seat or picnic blanket with you to ensure maximum comfort.

A limited number of tickets may be available to purchase on the door for each performance – however, this will depend on demand.

Access to the performance space will be via the back gate at the back of the Mansion House, off the main path opposite the Coach House. We will have TRO volunteers on the day directing you to the entrance.

The Reader Café will be open until the start of the performance, we will also be serving light refreshments and ice creams at the interval.

Please use public transport where possible as there is limited parking in the Calderstones Park car park. The park is served by bus numbers 61, 68, 168, 75, 75E, 76, 76A, 86D which will take you to Menlove Avenue. The Mansion House garden is only a short 5 minutes walk from the main road.

_MG_9867For more information on Much Ado About Nothing please visit our website: www.thereader.org.uk/events

If you want to see what Shakespeare out-of-doors looks like, take a sneak peek at some exclusive photographs from the performances of the show from Brighton Festival last week. They’re up on our Facebook page now – and we promise very few spoilers.

Plus, if you fancy reminding yourself of the play before you come to see the performances come along to…

Much Ado About Nothing: Read the Play in a Day!
10am – 4pm, Saturday 7th June 2014

Calderstones Mansion House, Liverpool

£30 / £15 concessions (including lunch)
*Special 10% discount on your space when a friend who’s new to Short Courses books a space*

  • Does the idea of reading Shakespeare leave you feeling shaky?
  • Read some plays before, but you’re a bit rusty?
  • New to Much Ado about Nothing?
  • Need a refresher before Shakespeare’s Globe’s performances at Calderstones Mansion on 12th-14th June?

Come join us for a rip-roaring, confidence-boosting, all-embracing ‘Play in a Day’ Saturday.

Led by The Reader Organisation’s Founder and Director, Jane Davis, and a team of our Shakespeare-loving staff, we’ll take over Calderstones Mansion together reading Much Ado About Nothing. And you never know, with your new-found confidence, you may even feel inspired to tread the boards yourself before the day is through!

No advance reading required. All-ages, backgrounds, experience with Shakespeare welcome!

For more information or to book your place contact Jenny Kelly at jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or 0151 207 7207.

Half Term Hijinks and Open Day at Calderstones

kids craftingMay Half Term is fast approaching, which can only mean another round of Half Term Hijinks at Calderstones Mansion House! We’ve got lots of fun in store for little ones and the young at heart to join in with too – as well as tons of stories, there’ll be rhymes, creative crafts, yummy feasts and adventure galore.

The programme is from Tuesday 27th-Friday 30th May, with each day containing different events to keep you entertained all week long. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Tuesday 27th May

Fantastic Mr Fox Feast, 11am-1pm
Age: 5-8 years
Cost: £7.50 for 1st child, £4 for each additional child thereafter

Join us for a fantastical lunchtime feast inspired by Roald Dahl’s classic.

Wednesday 28th May

Sharing A Shell, 10-11.30am
Age: 2-5 years
Cost: £5

We’ll be singing, rhyming and creating our own sea creatures at this special reading session.

Thursday 29th May

Catch A Star, 10-11.30am
Age: 4-8
Cost: £5

This space themed reading session will be full of adventure, stars, aliens in underpants and rocket ships!

IMG_0378What The Ladybird Heard, 1-2pm *SOLD OUT*
Age: 0-2 years
Cost: £5

Tiny explorers can have some farmyard fun in this special interactive reading session.

Friday 30th May

Matilda and Charlie, 12-2pm
Age: 5-10 years
Cost: £7.50 for first child, £4 for each additional child thereafter

We’re exploring two of our favourite Roald Dahl books with bookworm book bags and Willy Wonka inspired feast.

Booking is required for all events and children must be accompanied by an adult. Visit our website to book your place online to each event via Eventbrite: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events
For more information, contact Roisin: roisinhyland@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 724 5000.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May, we’ll be opening the doors to the Mansion House for our second annual Open Day at Calderstones. Before Half Term Hijinks takes place, why not take the chance to look around and take a tour of Calderstones Mansion House? You’ll be able to meet staff from The Reader Organisation and learn about our development plans as we continue to transform the building into a centre of reading and wellbeing. There’ll also be lots to do on the day – take your choice from enjoying some shared reading, getting creative with our drop-in family craft workshops and munch on a tasty treat from The Reader Cafe!

The doors to the Mansion House will be open from 10am-4pm on 26th May and entry is completely FREE.

We look forward to welcoming you to Calderstones over the week!

For more about what’s coming up at the Mansion House, check out our What’s On guide, available to download from our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/events-at-calderstones.

The Reader Cafe and Gallery opening

The Reader Cafe and Gallery opening
6-8pm,
Thursday 3rd Aprilunforgottencoatflyeraltlogo2 (2)
Calderstones Park, Liverpool, L18 3JB

We are delighted to announce that the Lord Mayor of Liverpool will be officially opening the brand new Reader Cafe and Reader Gallery in Calderstones Park on Thursday at a special launch event.

After the Lord Mayor has cut the ribbon at 6pm, visitors will be welcomed into the gallery to hear from our Director, Jane Davis, and photographer Carl Hunter, whose exhibition will be on display. Barefoot Wine are providing free refreshments and, after exploring the gallery, visitors are invited to head over to the cafe to sample the delicious menu and enjoy a shared reading taster session at 7pm. All welcome!

The Reader Gallery

The Reader Gallery is in the Coach House building, and the opening exhibition is one very close to The Reader Organisation’s heart; The Unforgotten Coat. Carl Hunter and Claire Heney worked with author Frank Cottrell Boyce to create the stunning and atmospheric photography in the award-winning book, transforming Liverpool into a version of Mongolia through the medium of polaroids.

This exhibition, originally from Edge Hill University will be on display in the gallery from 3rd -19th April, 11am-5pm (closed Mondays and Bank Holidays).

The Reader Cafe

We’ve been deligblackboards onlinehted with the reaction to The Reader Cafe, which opened for the first time last week with our friendly team behind the counter.  Pop in to enjoy a tasty lunch, hot drink or slice of cake with a lots of books and good company, every day 8.30am-4.30pm.

stunning and atmospheric photography from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s award-winning The Unforgotten Coat, transforming Liverpool into a version of Mongolia through the medium of Polaroids. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/the-reader-cafe-and-gallery-launch.aspx#sthash.UOULhEsr.dpuf

stunning and atmospheric photography from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s award-winning The Unforgotten Coat, transforming Liverpool into a version of Mongolia through the medium of Polaroids. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/the-reader-cafe-and-gallery-launch.aspx#sthash.UOULhEsr.dpuf
stunning and atmospheric photography from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s award-winning The Unforgotten Coat, transforming Liverpool into a version of Mongolia through the medium of Polaroids. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/the-reader-cafe-and-gallery-launch.aspx#sthash.UOULhEsr.dpuf