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Project information

Care Homes – literature gives older people a voice

The Reader will train & support volunteers to read and connect with lonely older people in UK care homes and community settings. Shared Reading is a fun weekly activity that builds communities, improves well-being, reduces social isolation and, importantly, gives a voice to people who need it most

2 years

Charity information: The Reader

The Reader logo
  • Need


    We live in an ageing society - 1million older people go a month without speaking to anyone. We must meet the growth of social isolation & loneliness, with their well-established implications for personal health & well-being.
    As the Quality Care Commission put it “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high quality and compassionate care people deserve. With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever


    One care home worker recently said "Shared Reading enables residents to interact with other residents that they wouldn’t usually speak to. It is so lovely watching them open up and share their stories and they are still talking about the group days after it is done so enables them to remember past experiences.” By training and supporting new Reader Leader volunteers, we will be able to bring the benefits of Shared Reading to more care home residents helping to meet the challenge of loneliness.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To bring Shared Reading to the residents of up to 50 more UK care homes and community settings.


    » To train and support, over a period of two years, 50 new Reader Leader volunteers to bring Shared Reading to more care homes and community settings.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by trained volunteers delivering Shared Reading groups in the new care homes and community settings.

  • Impact


    Sustainable Shared Reading groups will run in additional care homes and community settings across the UK as part of a national movement.

    The Reader will maintain an ongoing relationship with the 50 new volunteers providing support and ongoing learning opportunities as well as connecting them to a network of like-minded individuals.


    Volunteer recruitment and retention represents the biggest risk to the success of the project. Finding the right people to create a quality Shared Reading experience is key; as is providing the right training and ongoing support to volunteers to ensure they are able to continue to run their groups. Our well-established volunteer recruitment processes and our experienced volunteer support team will be the main ways in which we mitigate this risk.


    We will deliver a final project report, highlighting outputs and learnings from the project. We will share the real life experiences of group members and volunteers and emphasize the change that their donations have helped to create.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £37,500 50 x Initial Training Flagship Read to Lead learning programme enables volunteers to deliver high quality Shared Reading
      £12,500 50 x 2 years ongoing support 2 years volunteer support programme providing access to our online portal of resources
  • Background


    All Shared Reading activity as part of this project will take place in care homes and community settings. We will offer volunteer training opportunities to diverse communities across the UK and will be guided by the need and by the geographical spread of the online donations we receive during the Christmas Challenge.


    The project will create a powerful double impact for both volunteers and group members. Older people living in care homes across the UK will gain a much needed human connection, improving well-being and reducing social isolation among one of the most vulnerable groups in society, while volunteer Reader Leaders will learn key transferable skills and experience their own well-being improvements.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Reader is the only organisation delivering Shared Reading groups across the UK. We pioneered the model and are the global experts having exported Shared Reading to partners in other countries. Since 2012, we have read with over 25,000 people in settings from prisons and high secure hospitals, to schools and care homes, libraries and community centres. We have a strong research base to prove our impact and we are commissioned by the NHS, Ministry of Justice and are an Art Council England NPO.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Jane Davis MBE

    Jane is the founder & CEO of The Reader, having pioneered the Shared Reading. Jane inspires the organisation and provides the vision for the project.



Will give a Shared Reading group stories and poems to spark conversation & connections for a month