Reading Friends

Have you heard about “Reading Friends”, a brilliant new scheme which aims to connect older adults who may be feeling lonely or isolated with trained volunteers through the power of books?

Once a week, a trained befriender from your local library will organize an online chat about things of interest to the people on the call – whether it be favourite authors and books or something participants may have heard on the radio or read in a newspaper.

The scheme is totally free to all residents and there is no need for people to be a library member.

As an example, here’s a librarian from Halton explaining how it works in her area –

How do I contact my local group?

To find your local group just click on the link below and enter your postcode.  This will direct you to your local library system where you are able to register for the programme.

Please note that this is a new scheme so some libraries may not yet have their programmes up and running.

Who runs the Scheme?

The Reading Friends project is a national scheme, overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and run by the Reading Agency.

The “Reading Agency” is a nonprofit which looks to tackle “life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading”.

Do they need volunteers?

Yes!  Although it is bound to vary according to where you live, our understanding is that enthusiastic volunteers are needed to become one-to-one befrienders, who would be put in touch with a participant by the library service to start a conversation about reading. People can volunteer as much or as little time as they can, with no experience required – just a love of conversation.

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