Reading Friends, an innovative new programme from The Reading Agency, is tackling loneliness across the UK. Last year we reached 624 Reading Friends participants with the support of 104 volunteers. In 2018 we are committed to reaching thousands more.

Our journey so far

Reading Friends connects people by starting conversations through reading. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, we have been running since June 2017. We have worked in partnership with organisations and communities to test different approaches to delivery.

Reading Friends began phase two in September 2018, which will see it expand to new areas across the UK.

Where are we working?

We already have projects in England, Scotland and Wales. From autumn 2018 Northern Ireland will join Reading Friends, and we’ll expand the programme to new areas across the UK.


Working with Scottish Book Trust, Stirling Libraries delivered our first project in Scotland. A new project is underway with Artlink, which will see Reading Friends  spread to Edinburgh and Lothians.


Literature Wales works with The Reading Agency to deliver the programme in Wales. Our first project with Conwy Library Service set out to reach rural communities. We are pleased to announce that we will be setting up a new Reading Friends project with Swansea ABMU.

Northern Ireland

Verbal will be developing Reading Friends in Northern Ireland, working with The Reading Agency. Older People North West and Compassionate Communities will run our first project in Derry.


Reading Friends has also been going strong in England. Projects currently run in Newcastle, Sheffield, Oldham and West Sussex. New projects are planned for 2018/2019, including Stockport, Tameside and Doncaster.

Get involved

Donate so we can work towards bringing Reading Friends to new areas across the UK.

Find out about the partners that help bring Reading Friends to life.

Find out more!

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