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Reading Friends launched in Conwy

Published 21 November 2017 - By Literature Wales

On Monday 16 October 2017, Literature Wales launched Reading Friends, a new Big Lottery funded project which aims to empower, engage and connect vulnerable and isolated older people with dementia and their carers through social reading activities.

Reading Friends is a UK-wide project led by The Reading Agency and in partnership with Conwy Library Service and Age Connects, Literature Wales is managing a one year test project to trial different approaches to connecting with older people through reading.

There are six test sites in all – one in Wales led by Literature Wales, one in Scotland managed by The Scottish Book Trust, and four in England led by The Reading Agency. The work of each test site will be evaluated with the results used to build on and extend the project into more areas for a further three year pilot phase, commencing in 2018.

The launch event held at Llanrwst Library, Conwy was well supported by local people, some who wish to be involved as a friend or partner and others who came along to offer individual skills, knowledge and support.  Attendees included local councilors who spoke at the launch and offered their support as volunteers.

Hot on the heels of the launch, the first round of training for volunteers was held at local charity venue TAPE Music and Arts Centre in Colwyn Bay, but don’t worry if you missed it as recruitment and training will continue for the life of the project.

Volunteers will be matched with 1 or more Reading Friends and with ongoing support and training will spend time reading and talking with older people.  This exciting project will benefit both older people and the volunteers, giving them the opportunity to use reading as a stimulus to further conversations around interests, hobbies, news, sport, anything of interest to both the friends and the volunteers.

 

We are now actively looking for volunteer Reading Partners and Reading Friends to take part.  If you would like to find out how to get involved, please contact either the project manager for Wales Catherine.kennedy@literaturewales.org 029 20 472266 or the Conwy Library Service volunteer contact Cheryl.hesketh@conwy.gov.uk 01492 576582