Project to support reading for wellbeing receives further funding
27 Jun 2022
A project which promotes the concept of reading for pleasure to support mental health and wellbeing has been awarded further funding to help it continue for another 12 months.
The ‘Reading for Wellbeing’ project is designed to bring together groups of people who have previously felt socially isolated, creating opportunities for them to get to know and make connections with one another and the communities they live in through a shared interest in reading.
The project, which was founded in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, is the brainchild of Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of the popular ‘Vera’ detective series.
Having spoken publicly about the therapeutic value of reading and its ability to improve people’s health and wellbeing at the Regional Public Health England Conference in 2020, Ann joined together with Northumberland Libraries, Northumberland County Council, the UK Health Security Agency and Newcastle and Northumbria Universities to part-fund the project, which created nine new roles for Community Reading Workers within the North East.
Following a successful first year, Public Health England and Northumberland Communities Together have now agreed to further fund the project to enable its vital work to continue.
From humble beginnings the project has expanded to include five regular sessions based in and around Newbiggin, a pilot session at Lynemouth and a pop-up session in Ashington as well as an online and telephone service operating across the county to signpost residents to the project.
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member for Healthy Lives at Northumberland County Council, commented: “We are delighted at the success of the Reading for Wellbeing project so far.
“Over the past 12 months, our dedicated team of Community Reading Workers have been working tirelessly to support as many people living in our communities as possible with their mental health and wellbeing.
“It is wonderful to see this hard work recognised by Public Health England and Northumberland Communities Together to allow this all-important work to continue.”