Delivered in partnership with public libraries, local communities and voluntary organisations, the project aims to empower, engage and connect older people and people with dementia and Carers by starting conversations through reading. Reading Friends is co-produced with older people and delivered through volunteers, called Reading Partners.
From June 2017 – June 2018, Literature Wales is working in partnership with Conwy Library Service and Age Connect to test different approaches to delivering the Reading Friends programme. Working with libraries, care homes and in rural community settings, in particular farming communities where Welsh is spoken as a first language, a range of social reading models will be adopted, including one-to-one befriending and reading groups to connect older people who may be at risk of isolation and loneliness.
Reading Friends is currently being run in England, Scotland and Wales by The Reading Agency, Scottish BookTrust and Literature Wales. The project is being tested in the following areas:
- West Sussex