Social Business Trust backs The Reader with £1.5m support

SBT Logo RGBWe’re delighted to announce the news that Social Business Trust has awarded £1.5 million worth of funding and business support to The Reader, allowing us to reach many more people across the country through shared reading.

We’ve been working with SBT since 2013, when their initial funding and investment of £280,000 gave us the learning and support needed to grow and strengthen the core of what we do. Expertise from SBT’s corporate partners including British Gas have enabled us to develop our projects, measure our impacts and help people who need the benefits that our unique and innovative shared reading model can bring. Thanks to continued support from SBT through this new package of funding, we’ll be able to more than double the number of people we reach from 11,000 a year to 27,000 by 2018.

Adele Blakeborough MBE, CEO of Social Business Trust has seen the effects of shared reading for herself:

“It is incredibly moving and compelling to see the difference The Reader makes to thousands of vulnerable people through its simple model of shared reading groups. We know there is scope to expand The Reader’s important work more extensively across the country and are delighted to support the organisation to achieve that growth.”

MFS_9275Our shared reading groups take place in a variety of settings around the UK including prisons, mental health centres, care homes and local communities. The simple model of reading aloud in facilitated groups is proven to support positive mental health and wellbeing, combating isolation, calming aggression and helping people with dementia. Through the act of reading on a regular basis with others, people can connect with a better understanding of themselves, realise opportunities they might not have thought possible and make changes in their lives.

We’re already helping people like Angela to do this:

Angela from Liverpool has bipolar affected disorder and experienced a full nervous breakdown three years ago. She joined a group at The Reader a year ago and then started volunteering on reception at our head office. As a result of building her confidence and experience, she is about to begin a paid job.

Angela says: “I saw my consultant for the first time in 6 months the other day and I don’t think he could believe the change in me. If I was putting percentages on my progress over the last year I would say 30% natural improvement and pills and 70% down to coming here. If I hadn’t found The Reader, who knows what I would be doing now?”

Thanks to our continued funding from SBT, we’ll be able to help even more people in many more places across the UK.

To find out more about how SBT are helping social enterprises around the country, including The Reader, to scale up the impact they make, visit their website.

Social Business Trust’s Social Impact Report 2014

PrintThe Social Business Trust (SBT) has published their latest Social Impact Report, outlining and quantifying the professional support it has offered to social enterprises across the country in the last financial year – of which The Reader Organisation was one beneficiary.

Utilising the commercial and industrial talents of a number of partners which include British Gas, Credit Suisse, EY and Thomson Reuters, SBT’s clear goal is to help transform the impact of social enterprises, meaning that more lives of the UK’s most disadvantaged people can be improved. It does this by pairing social enterprises which face challenges in scaling up their operations with specialist business expertise from its partners. Investment, whether it be in the transfer of knowledge, funding new resource or buying in new expertise to the organisation, takes a long-term view in order to help social enterprises grow.

For every £1 SBT receives as a cash donation, they invest £3 worth of grants and support in social enterprise projects, meaning that for every £100,000 donated, SBT on average grants £300,000 to social enterprises, and on average SBT’s portfolio enterprises have doubled their number of beneficiaries over the past two years. The Social Impact Report includes some impressive statistics: £3m worth of financial and professional support was invested by SBT in projects in 2013/14, with 144 volunteers engaged.

The Reader Organisation began working with SBT in mid-2013, with SBT investing £280,000 to help us reach and connect more people with great literature through the shared reading model. The support received from SBT has enabled us to grow in the areas of sales strategy, proposition development, impact measurement and strategic planning, and has allowed us to take two new members of staff on board – as well as reach over 13,000 beneficiaries.

You can read more about our work with SBT, including the perspective of the volunteers from British Gas who worked with to give us specialist support we have previously not had access to, in the Social Impact Report 2014: http://www.socialbusinesstrust.org/about-us/social-impact-2014

 

Social Business Trust invests in The Reader Organisation

social business trust logoGreat news for the Reading Revolution – the Social Business Trust is investing £280,000 in The Reader Organisation, helping us to reach even more people through shared reading and combat social isolation through great literature.

The Social Business Trust (SBT) was formed in 2010, offering expertise and advice to social enterprises who want to grow and scale up their operations, alongside financial investment. Looking at a social enterprise, SBT assess the obstacles facing the organisation and establish the best possible support from their partners, managing investment and links between enterprises and supporters.

SBT’s investment in The Reader Organisation is its eighth investment in a social enterprise  – others have included The Challenge Network, the London Early Years Foundation and the Shakespeare Schools Festival – and will be made up of a £100,000 cash grant and £180,000 worth of professional support from SBT’s corporate partners. The professional support package, led by British Gas with support from SBT’s other corporate partners, will underpin our growth and business development, defining development strategy and recruiting new positions.

Adele Blakebrough, Chief Executive of Social Business Trust, said of the investment:

“The Reader Organisation is an incredibly inspiring social enterprise. Many people start off sceptical about how useful it can be to encourage people to read in groups, but when you see it in action the impact is transformational and uplifting. We are so pleased to be able to help them grow and reach more and more people with their wonderful work.”

Book close-upSBT’s investment will be vital in ensuring that Get Into Reading goes from strength to strength, reaching more of the people who most need the benefits that come from sharing great literature with good company. Currently, over 350 groups reach hundreds of people each week, bringing positive impacts such as self-esteem, boosted confidence and reduced social isolation. With the investment we can go some way towards achieving the ambition of delivering 1,920 weekly reading groups within five years and engage over 17,000 individuals, bringing closer our vision of providing access to shared reading groups to everybody in the UK.

Founder and Director of The Reader Organisation Jane Davis said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to be backed by SBT in this way. The process to date has been an extremely valuable one, and we are looking forward to learning new ways of thinking and working through the support provided. The Reader Organisation has grown at a rate of about 30% since we were founded in 2008, but this is going to be different! It’s really exciting to be at the beginning of a period of unprecedented yet strongly supported growth which will help us spread the reading revolution across the UK.”

SBT’s partners are: Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit-Suisse, Ernst & Young, Permira and Thomson Reuters. For more information about SBT, visit the Social Business Trust website.