As we countdown to the launch of The Reader’s Big Give Christmas Challenge, we’ve been catching up with three of the volunteers trained as a result of last year’s successful, award-winning campaign.
The Reader is building a volunteer-led movement across the North West. Could you help us make that happen?
At The Reader we’re constantly blown away by the personal stories our group members, volunteers and colleagues share with us. We’ve learned that you can never underestimate where your Shared Reading journey can take you, or where you can take Shared Reading! When Erin, our resident American returned stateside we knew it wouldn’t be the end of her Reader journey and we’re delighted to share her latest transatlantic update – Shared Reading hits Montana!
Bring Shared Reading to a new community
Last December, The Reader launched a three-day fundraising campaign as part of The Big Give’s Christmas Challenge. Supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the Postcode Support Trust, The Reader raised over £50,000 and was named Best UK Charity in the Christmas Challenge Awards. Donations from our wonderful supporters and partners have already allowed us to train 15 new volunteer Reader Leaders and provided increased support and ongoing training for over 50 existing volunteers currently reading with older people at risk of social isolation.
With the remaining funds, we plan to create a new Shared Reading community in an area where they we do not currently work. Under this new community-led project, we will train 12 additional Reader Leaders and provide a bespoke programme of learning and support worth over £10,000.
You helped us raise the money, now help us spread the word!
We are inviting applications from across the country, for a new training programme which aims to reduce social isolation and improve the mental health and well-being of older people. Fully-funded for two years, applications are welcome from community groups, individuals and small organisations who wish to bring our unique Shared Reading model to their community, creating something real and meaningful for isolated older residents.
Shared Reading improves well-being, reduces social isolation and builds stronger communities, as one 95-year-old lady who read one-to-one with a Reader Volunteer in Wirral said:
“It really brightens my day, because I don’t see anybody some days, so when the Reader Volunteer comes on a Tuesday morning, it brightens my week. We do something different, the poems and the stories we read are different each time and we have such a good discussion about them. It’s a one-to-one discussion – why we enjoyed it, what we think it’s all about, you really get to the bottom of it. It gives me something to think about, something extra to think about and I really, truly enjoy it.”
This is an exciting opportunity for passionate and motivated people to become part of a collaborative movement and build a long-term, sustainable Shared Reading community dedicated to supporting older people. All applicants must be able to self-fund any travel or accommodation costs incurred by attending the Read to Lead training course which will take place from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 August. The location of the course will be determined by the strength and spread of successful applications.
How to apply:
All applicants must be able to commit to:
- Attending ALL course dates in August (Tuesday 29 – Thursday 31)
- A two-year programme of involvement
- Providing regular communications and reports to The Reader, including evaluation and monitoring of activities and case studies
- Self-funding any travel or accommodation costs incurred
Especially for Volunteer’s Week, our Featured Poem comes from our Volunteer anthology Poets Don’t Lie. William Blake’s The Tyger has been chosen by Barnet volunteer Fred.
The second in our series of Reader Stories for Volunteers’ Week comes from John who first found Shared Reading while recovering from addiction.
We kick start Volunteers’ Week with a powerful Reader Story from one of our volunteer Reader Leaders.
Ahead of the Big Give Christmas Challenge we visited Betty and her Reader Volunteer Julie to find out what Shared Reading can mean to the older people we want to help this Christmas.
Today is the UN’s International Day of Charity, a day to celebrate the organisations and individuals who help to create real social bonds and inclusive, more resilient societies.