Shared Reading Groups

This project is run by The Reader

What is the project?

The project will establish 30 shared reading groups across the city – reaching those over-50, at risk of social isolation on hospital wards, sheltered housing sites, libraries and a range of other settings.


What does the project do?

Shared Reading inspires and supports people to read, aloud, together. Led by a trained facilitator, it connects people to great literature and each other through live experiences, in weekly groups, that make literature accessible to all - regardless of background, age or ability. Thoughts and experiences are shared and social connections are made – in a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment. Groups are free, no pre-reading is required and group members can participate how they wish – be it read aloud, share their thoughts or simply listen.

Shared Reading has over a decade of research underpinning it that testifies to the benefits to group members and volunteers alike. This work reduces isolation, improves wellbeing and The Reader have a growing body of evidence to suggest that the model has therapeutic benefits – for volunteers and group members alike.

In Bristol, The Reader will be training 60 staff/volunteers to deliver 30 Shared Reading groups.


How to get in touch

Partners – The Reader will be looking for likeminded organisations, who would like a Shared Reading group as part of their wellbeing provision, to get involved with the project. They invite any organisations who wish to:

  • Host a group
  • Refer service users to a group
  • Promote a group
  • Get staff/volunteers trained to run a group

You can contact the Michael Prior, South West Community and Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement Lead,

Volunteers - Similarly, if you would be interested in volunteer to lead a group or help run a group – The Reader would love to hear from you! They offer all of our volunteers full training, ongoing support and a chance to meet other volunteers. Find out more about the volunteer roles here

Group Members - The groups are inclusive, welcoming and fun – they’re free, open to all, you don’t need to read in advance and there’s no pressure to participate – just come as you are and feel at home. If you would like to join one of the groups in Bristol, find the list of groups and locations here


Why did BAB fund it?

After taking the learning from our Group work and Peer support pilots, we were keen to ensure that at least one of our contracts used art or literature as a basis for bringing people together. We invited tenders for an arts based group work project and The Reader were the successful bidder. 

Call us: 0117 928 1539

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A charity limited by guarantee. Registered no 2984207.
Registered Charity no. 1042548

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