Reading Friends volunteer coordinator Simon has been an active member of our community since he joined in 2018. Simon’s work has included helping us develop useful resources for working in hospitals, and promoting the programme in his local community of Edinburgh. We chatted to Simon to get to know more about him, and why he first joined Reading Friends. 

What is your favourite thing about Reading Friends?

Being able to connect with new people and volunteers is one of the main reasons I take part in the project. I like being able to bring people together with the common goal of friendship and bonding over stories, ideas and gossip.

Why did you get involved with Reading Friends?

I had been working with Artlink as a drama assistant for several months when the opportunity arose for me to take over the role of volunteer coordinator. Artlink were working with Reading Friends, specifically with patients on dementia and stroke units. I thought the programme was providing people with something valuable, so I jumped at the chance to get involved.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

My favourite book changes all the time, as I think many are valuable reads. My current favourite is, Don’t Let my Past Be Your Future by Harry Leslie Smith.

What do you like to read?

I’m a prolific reader, and I’m also open to different genres and styles. My current favourites are memoirs, LGBT+ fiction and non-fiction, polemic, contemporary classics, diaries. Lots and lots of things.

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

My PlayStation 4. I find that gaming is a relaxing hobby. It’s often derided as something mindless, but I think that’s a very positive thing, studies have shown that it increases confidence and self-esteem in neurodiverse children.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?

Dr Who AKA The Doctor (any incarnation).

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

I’m a big film buff, and I enjoy old films especially, such as Gone With The Wind, Rebecca and The Seventh Veil. Despite this, I’ve never seen some of the classics, like The Godfather, Casablanca or It’s a Wonderful Life.

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