Volunteer opportunity description

Do you love books and believe in the importance of reading? Do you want to share your passion with others in the community?

Become a Reader Leader this September. We are offering the chance to train to deliver a shared reading group for wellbeing, working with older adults in a community setting.

In our Shared Reading groups we meet weekly to read aloud from stories, poems, novels and plays and to share our own ideas, thoughts and feelings – all over a cup of tea and biscuits.

As we read aloud together, our own stories unfold with the reading. Our research has found that group members gain confidence, improve their social interaction and their wellbeing. 

"This is the best thing in my week, I really look forward to it."
We’re all pleased about you coming! We feel like somebody cares. We didn’t know what to expect when we first started the group, but what we got was lovely! It makes you feel important, that you matter.”
"Yeah, it's not just the reading, it’s the being together"
"I feel like I've been fed"
And your help coming here makes you feel better. It brings out what’s been gathering here [hand on chest]. Not leaving it there.”

(Quotes from Shared Reading group members)

As a Shared Reading facilitator you will share in the development of the group and the groups members, as well as discovering a new way of reading and of sharing it with others.

Reader Leaders will:

  • Take part in The Reader’s flagship Read to Lead training programme
  • Deliver a weekly 1.5hr Shared Reading session in a community setting with older people
  • Choose and prepare texts (short stories and poems) in advance of each reading session, from The Reader’s large online database and numerous printed anthologies
  • Create a safe and welcoming environment, taking into account the additional needs group members may have
  • Share Welcome Packs with new readers
  • Maintain records about each reading session
  • Collect monitoring and evaluation data, as required

As well as gaining first-hand experience of working with an award winning nationally recognised social enterprise, and enriching the lives of isolated older people in Croydon, Reader Leaders will:

·         Be given a place on our inspiring training programme, Read to Lead. Normally £750 per person, the course provides you with valuable and transferable communication, facilitation, reading and leadership skills.

·         Receive regular group supervisions with the rest of the Croydon team, where you will be able to raise any issues or concerns, exchange advice, information and literature suggestions.

·         Gaining access to The Reader membership site will provide you with resources to advertise and organise your groups as well as a vast range of reading material for use in the sessions.

"So, the ‘giving’ in being a Reader Leader has not been a one-way street.  If people should say ‘That’s a really worthwhile thing you are doing’ I can secretly smile whilst thinking, little do you know what it gives me!" - Reader Leader, Croydon



·         Reliability and flexibility

·         Good organisational, time management and interpersonal skills

·         Patience with those who are unable to communicate clearly and/or are less confident

·         Able to ask for help when needed

·         Basic IT / internet skills and access to email

·         Have a warm, calm and friendly manner that reflects The Reader’s ethos and values

·         Ability to remain resilient and show compassion to members of the community

·         An ability to read clearly and loudly, and to facilitate conversation related to the text (training provided)

You do not have to have a literature degree or be university educated to perform this role, but should be able to appreciate and engage with good literature and encourage others to do so too.

Timing expectation:

Volunteers must be able to commit to 3-4 hours volunteering per week. Some groups may be run in pairs, which will offer some flexibility with the time commitment. Volunteers should be able to commit for at least six months, to allow continuity when establishing the groups.

Induction and training sessions must be completed before starting the placement. These training days will take place at a central London location.  


We'll cover expenses for running your group i.e. travel and photocopying. 

A DBS will be required for this role. A criminal record does not necessarily disqualify a person from volunteering with us.




Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


Volunteer opportunity location(s)

About the organisation

The Reader - Croydon

Rachel Gnagniko
Volunteer Recruitment Manager
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