Reading Friends has been going strong in Stockport since December 2018. Connecting with the Socially Yours Group, we tackle loneliness in older people through the power of a shared story.

To get everyone chatting, the sessions are themed around childhood, holidays, and anything else that can spark a story. We’ve had some great materials to help us, which we recommend for anyone working with older people. We have found that tangible materials help spark their memories. We have found that local photos, reminiscence materials like Punch and Judy puppets, and excerpts from books like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Cat in the Hat work really well.

Through Reading Friends older people can connect with their childhood, and it can bring people out of their shells. Reading can be daunting for people, but everyone has a story to share. Reminiscence materials are a great way to help us facilitate those discussions.

Since the programme began we have seen such an impact on people’s connectivity and wellbeing. Some of the groups have felt confident to read out poems for the first time, and everyone joining in when discussing topics they remember. These can be things like school uniforms, school meals etc.

“The Reading Friends sessions at Socially Yours Friendship Group have been brilliant. We love to have a chat at our group and the sessions give us a great opportunity to focus on what we are talking about. It allows us to reminisce about times gone by or the things we like or dislike. It has been a wonderful way of getting to know each other, and the sessions are often filled with laughter! I find it really encouraging to know that when I tell the group it’ll be a Reading Friends session next week, they smile and discuss what it could be about. Most importantly, they return the following week to get involved!

Natalie from Quality Care

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