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Reading group in plea to find volunteers

PUBLISHED: 16:26 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 13 August 2019

Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.

Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.

Teri Pengilley 2019

A new community project called The Reading Revolution wants to get older people reading aloud together in libraries across Hackney.

Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.

But before the project can begin volunteers are needed to lead groups in shared readings.

Shared reading involves groups of people discussing and reading novels, poems and plays out loud to each other.

"Through literature we talk about the subjects relevant to our lives," said a 75-year-old group member from West London.

"I look forward to coming one week to the next.

Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.Shared reading group in Shepherd's Bush.

"It's something beautiful. We have different outlooks and different experiences in life. All of us talk about the same subject in the story or poem but bring a different aspect of it while talking about it."

During the readings group members are encouraged to talk about their feelings and thoughts rather than simply analysing a text.

The Reader is a charity which developed shared reading 10 years ago to strengthen communities, improve well-being and reduce social isolation.

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It is working with Hackney Libraries and Hackney Community Transport on the project that will provide free door-to-door transport for all group members, as some might find it difficult to travel to and from the sessions.

Homerton Library and Clapton Library will be the first of eight places in the borough to begin shared reading sessions.

George, a volunteer from Croydon told the Gazette: "The 'giving' in being a reader leader has not been a one-way street.

"If people say 'that's a really worthwhile thing you are doing' I can secretly smile whilst thinking, little do you know what it gives me!"

The Reader works nationally to bring shared reading to many different groups like those living with dementia, prisoners, kids and people dealing with mental health issues.

"For this Hackney-based project they are focusing on getting older people out of the house more and into reading aloud.

Volunteers usually give about four hours of their time a week to lead the sessions and will get a fully funded, three-day training course.

Training begins at the beginning of October.

To find out more about volunteering email volunteer@thereader.org.uk or go to thereader.org.uk

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