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Introducing: Reading Friends

We’re launching a brand new outreach project to connect people in the community through reading!

Reading Friends is a UK-wide social reading and befriending programme, it starts with people’s interests and passions and is about reading, chatting together and having fun. It is delivered by a volunteer/member of staff as a one-to-one phone call or virtually.

We’re recruiting befrienders and participants now, so scroll down for our FAQ and details of how to get involved!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Reading Friends?
Reading Friends is a UK-wide social reading and befriending programme to help those of any age who feel vulnerable, isolated or lonely.

Is it an ongoing project?
That is what we are planning. Initially we have funding from January to March 2021. But we want to expand and develop the project after that.

Do you need to be an avid reader to join up?
No – we match the participant to the befriender. It is more about shared interests and experiences. More about chatting and having fun. Reading is just one way to make a connection. It can involve reading magazines and newspapers as well as books – anything.

Is it like a book group?
No – it is more about reading in the moment. Sharing reading experiences of all kinds –audio materials are also included.

Where are volunteers coming from?
To start with we are focusing on Library Volunteers who currently may not be involved with other projects. We are also approaching frontline Council staff – Customer Services staff and the Wellbeing hub staff/volunteers and we’re recruiting from the wider community.

How do I become a volunteer Befriender?
Please visit our Our Volunteering Portal or call Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41

What is the application process to become a befriender?
New volunteers will need to go through our application process. We will send you the form and we will need 2 referees. We will ask everyone to agree to our volunteering policies.

What training will be available?
We will provide full training and support, including online training modules, useful hints and tips, conversation-starting packs, support with digital services and guidance on safeguarding.

How do I become a participant?
Contact us on or call Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41.

How will participants and befrienders be paired?
Each person will complete a profile detailing interests and hobbies, and staff match from there.

Will there be ongoing support?
Yes. The Reading Volunteers Team will be there to answer any questions that come up.

Would you like to be a participant?
Know someone you think would benefit?

Want to know more about becoming a Befriender?


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