The Reader

The Reader is an award-winning charitable social enterprise working to connect people with great literature through shared reading. We’re here to bring books to life, creating welcoming environments in which personal feeling is recognised and valued, forming vital connections between people and literature through which everyone can feel more alive.

12 July 2017
North West
Arts, Care, Charity, Community organisations, Health, Local Authorities, Social Care, Voluntary, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Wigan Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

For older people and those living with dementia, shared reading groups improve quality of life through cognitive stimulation, social interaction and meaningful engagement each week. Carers and care home staff notice that improvements in mood and concentration last long after the group has finished, demonstrating the wider impact of the groups.

We bring people together in weekly shared reading groups where poems and short stories are read aloud.Thoughts and experiences are shared; personal and social connections are made. We strive to create a safe, inclusive, exploratory, collaborative space in our shared reading groups where the human value of literature can be enjoyed together.

Our aims

To ensure quality literature and our unique shared reading model is accessible to all irrespective of age or health. To improve quality of life and care for people living with dementia and their carers. To establish shared reading as a non-medical intervention for people with a diagnosis of dementia

We are currently running a volunteer project in Wigan and Leigh to train and support volunteers and partner organisation staff to deliver weekly shared reading groups in dementia care settings.


2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

We have found in similar volunteer projects that meeting the demand for our service is a challenge. There are other difficulties such as: making sure volunteers are well placed and receiving the right support from host sites, maintaining the high levels of support and expertise our volunteers need for their delivery, and ensuring volunteers have a simple means of access to quality resources for their delivery.

2. Actions

  • Deliver reading groups for people living with dementia and their carers

    To deliver two shared reading groups per week and help support volunteers of their delivery in weekly shared reading group for people living with or affected by dementia. Groups normally last for an hour.

  • Improve dementia awareness by offering dementia training and to all staff and volunteers as part of our training

    As part of our training to give volunteers the skills to deliver shared reading groups, we will link up with local dementia organisations to encourage all volunteers to imporve their understanding and awareness of dementia.
    Being implemented
  • Support volunteers and staff to become dementia friends

    Further to my previous action, I will signpost volunteers and staff to opportunities to become dementia friends

    Being implemented
  • Signpost reading group members to other dementia activities in the community

    Find out about local programmes of local dementia friendly activity then recommend and promote to group members to help individuals fully realise a more rounded, healthy lifestyle.

    Being implemented
  • Displaying the Working to Become Dementia Friendly 2016/17 to any promotional material

    Include the 'Dementia Friendly' branding on any promotional matieral, newsletters, emails to show my commitment to and support of the dementia friendly networks in Wigan in Leigh

    Being implemented