Get into Reading is The Reader Organisations social outreach project, which delivers over 190 community read aloud weekly reading groups, mainly in Merseyside and increasingly across the UK.
With the development of Read to Lead Training, Get Into Reading is spreading across the UK, with groups in Durham, East Lancashire, Essex, London, Salford and the South West. Groups meet in community centres, libraries, homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, offices, doctors’ surgeries, drug rehab units and care homes to enjoy reading together.
RISE Project Visit GMW
International poets and novelists are to take part in The Reader Organisation’s RISE (Reading in Secure Environments) project, which launched this autumn. With funding from the Arts Council, RISE will bring contemporary writers of excellence to audiences in secure criminal justice and mental health care settings as well as to public audiences in conjunction with five UK literature festivals in Manchester, Durham, Wigan, Liverpool and London.
As part of Manchester literacy festival (8th – 23rd October), RISE visited GMW’s Gardener Unit where patients listened to poetry from poet Inua Ellams and discussed reading and writing.
Award-winning poet Jackie Kay will also visit HMP Styal later this month.
Andrew McDermott, Head of Operations, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Trust, said:
“We are proud to have worked alongside The Reader Organisation in bringing the power of reading to our service users. The RISE Project provides a unique opportunity for our service users in secure settings to get to meet an author and listen to them read from, and discuss, their own works. This is an opportunity that the majority will not have enjoyed before and only adds to the value of the Reader project already based at the Trust.”
Erwin James, writer and patron of The Reader Organisation, said:
“My first experience of reading as a shared experience happened when I was in prison and the poet Ken Smith came in to talk to a group of us about his work. I was ten years into a life sentence and was still trying to find my way. Ken invited us to read some of his poems and extracts from one of his books. We were all intensely inhibited at first, defensiveness being the default position to survive on a prison landing. None of us had ever done anything like it. But in the library that day Ken made us feel safe enough to let our defences down, and to engage with him and each other as the real people we were deep inside. The potential for RISE, I believe, is massive.”
GMW have been working with the Reader Organisation since June last year and has set up reader groups throughout the Trust to help people ‘get into reading’.
You can find more information about the RISE project here: http://thereader.org.uk/events-and-publications/rise/