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Reading Friends

What we do

Reading Friends brings people together to read, share stories, meet new friends and have fun. We use reading – whether books, magazines, newspapers, or anything else – to start everyone chatting.

Our mission at The Reading Agency is to tackle life's big challenges, such as loneliness and isolation, through the proven power of reading. 

Reading Friends connects people by starting conversations through reading, developed in 2017 with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.

We take a person-centred approach building on interests and hobbies to get everyone talking. We use the power of shared stories to spark conversations in groups and one-to-ones, working together with local community organisations and volunteers of all ages to build social connections. Together, we are reaching people who are vulnerable, isolated and at risk of loneliness, especially those most affected by the pandemic.

Reading Friends was co-created with older people and has been tested with local project partners. We work in partnership with Literature Wales and Verbal in Northern Ireland to deliver Reading Friends across the UK.

The Reading Agency was chosen as one of the charities for The Times Christmas Appeal 2019, focusing on our work on loneliness and reading,  highlighting stories from across the Reading Friends programme.

Reading Friends expanded in 2021 through public libraries in England with funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Find out more about the difference the programme has made through stories from our projects and through our evaluation reports.

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Your kindness can help us bring more people together like Terry, Karuna and Jean

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Reading Friends is part of the national charity, The Reading Agency. Check out some of our other programs:

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