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Job Opportunity: Project Worker for Gloucestershire

April 17, 2014
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The Reader Organisation can announce a new job opportunity for a Project Worker for Gloucestershire.

  • Hours: 14 hours per week
  • Duration: 12 month contract
  • Location: Gloucestershire
  • Salary: £15,000 – £17,000 per annum, pro rata (dependent upon experience)

A Project Worker is required to set up, establish and facilitate weekly shared reading groups in order to promote reading, wellbeing and good mental health. In addition, the Project Worker is expected to take an active role and interest in the core business of TRO which includes training others in shared reading techniques, communicating the work of TRO effectively, and fundraising.

The delivery of the reading groups will take place throughout varied settings including, but not limited to, acute inpatient settings and libraries/community centres.

This role could be for you if you:

  • Passionately believe in the value of reading
  • Are flexible
  • Want to make a difference
  • Do what it takes to get the job done
  • Can seize opportunities
  • Care about your work and your colleagues
  • Are committed to ongoing learning

How to apply:

Please do not just send in a CV. We will only consider applications that adhere to the following process:-

Visit our website and click to Job Opportunities under ‘Working With Us’ where you will be able to view and download a  full job description and an application form. Please complete the application form and submit a covering letter, explaining how you meet the requirements, to michellebarrett@thereader.org.uk

We would encourage you to complete a covering letter. Your covering letter is an opportunity for you to include any additional information which could not be explained within the application form.

Deadline for applications: 12pm, Friday 2nd May

NB: applications arriving after 12pm Friday 2nd May will not be considered.

We will contact successful applicants for interview by Wednesday 7th May.

Volume of applications may make replies to everyone impossible.

Interviews: Throughout May

Role begins: As soon as possible thereafter

What’s On at Calderstones this Spring

April 16, 2014
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DSC_0871Our very first Calderstones Events brochure has been published, ensuring you can keep up to date with everything that’s going on at the Mansion House between April-June at your fingertips.

As we continue to transform Calderstones Mansion House into a reading space for the local community and a national model of wellbeing, there’s a packed programme of events for visitors of all ages and interests, enjoying shared reading alongside many other great activities in the heart of the park.

From discovering the history and heritage of the park to creative Crafternoons, short literature courses to Shakespeare’s Globe’s stunning touring production of Much Ado About Nothing, and the return of our regular Half-Term Hijinks for the May half-term, Calderstones offers something for the whole community to enjoy in the Spring sunshine.

Brochures are making their way around the Allerton area of Liverpool now, and you can also view and download the guide on our website, where you’ll find out more about what’s happening at Calderstones, including information about the newly-opened Reader Cafe and Reader Gallery.

Upcoming highlights:

The Return of Art from the Square,
Monday 21st April – Sunday 4th May, 10am-5pm, The Reader Gallery

An eclectic collection of paintings, drawings, textiles and own prints with the occasional of 3D work. The group operates as a co-operative of mainly professionally trained artists active both locally and nationally.

Ken Sloan’s Calderstones Time Walk
Saturday 26th April, 1-3pm
Cost: £5

Local environmental historian Ken Sloan takes us on an interactive Time Walk around Calderstones Park, entering the vestibule of the historic Calder Stones and connecting with Liverpool’s oldest heritage monuments.
Book online

Crafternoon: Cross Stitch Roses
Friday 9th May, 2-4pm
Cost: £8

Join Roisin for this Spring inspired Crafternoon. Have a go at cross stitching a beautiful vintage style Rose, perfect for being framed and hung. Materials and refreshments provided.
Book online

Family Matters

April 15, 2014

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Short Course for Serious Readers: Family Matters
Saturday 26th April, 10am-4pm
Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool. L18 3JB

 

£30, £15 for concessions (includes lunch)

 

Illustration © 1990 by Shirley Hughes

A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts
—William Wordsworth

Now we are in April and the clocks have turned back, we are well and truly stepping into Spring. We have a whole host of Short Courses lined up in the next few months, where you can spend time reading together as a group in the beautiful surroundings of Calderstones Park.

Come join your guide Esther Harsh at the end of the month on a journey through meaningful moments of family feeling in literature. Esther is a student studying in the Reading in Practice MA program at University of Liverpool, researching family feeling in Victorian literature.

Together you will be reading passages from great Victorian works, including Silas Marner by George Eliot, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and other works by Elizabeth Gaskell and William Wordsworth.

The course will run from 10am-4pm and lunch plus all copies of the texts will be provided.

Short Courses for Serious Readers are for anyone who loves shared reading and getting a grip on great literature with like-minded company. Led by some brilliant readers, thinkers and teachers, these courses enable you to take a break from life for a while to immerse yourself in great literature.

Places on the course cost £30; £15 concessions.

To get more information on Family Matters visit our website. You can book your place by contacting Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or by calling 0151 207 7207.

Featured Poem: Self Dependence by Matthew Arnold

April 14, 2014
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Here at The Reader Organisation, we start every team meeting with a poem. Sometimes, one poem makes such an impact that it is passed from staff member to staff member and ends up being read at multiple team meetings, groups or events in the same week. At last count, this poem has popped up at least three times this week in Liverpool alone, and I’ve no doubt it’s made an appearance elsewhere around the country.

If this poem strikes a chord with you, why not share it with your own colleagues, family or friends and enjoy some shared reading on a grand scale?

Self-Dependence

Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel’s prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards o’er the starlit sea.

And a look of passionate desire
O’er the sea and to the stars I send:
‘Ye who from my childhood up have calmed me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!’

‘Ah, once more,’ I cried, ‘ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew;Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!’

From the intense, clear star-sown vault of heaven,
Over the lit sea’s unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:
‘Wouldst though BE as they are? LIVE as they.’

‘Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.’

‘And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silvered roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.’

‘Bounded by themselves and unregardful
In what state God’s other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see.’

O air-born voice! long since, severly clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
‘Resolve to be thyself; and know that he
Who finds himself loses his misery!’

Matthew Arnold

“It’s unbelievably moving and a real joy”: Shared reading and volunteering in Wiltshire

April 11, 2014
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reading 1Since January this year, The Reader Organisation have been running weekly Library Memory Groups in libraries across Wiltshire. Funded by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Library Memory Groups provide a stimulating environment where people with memory loss and those who care for them meet weekly to connect with each other through shared reading. Within the short space of time they have been set up the groups have proved popular, attracting coverage from BBC Radio Wiltshire and Wiltshire Times.

As the project continues, we are looking for volunteers to become Assistant Group Facilitators in our Library Memory Groups in Mere, Pewsey, Purton and Warminster Libraries.This opportunity will give you the chance to make a difference to the lives of people with memory loss, and to become part of The Reader Organisation in the South West, receiving fully funded training and the chance to go on to complete our revolutionary Read to Lead training free of charge. For a short amount of time – one and a half hours a week – you will help to make a significant impact within the community, as well as enjoying literature from a fresh and emotionally stimulating perspective.

Current South West volunteer Justine Wall volunteers at our Library Memory Group at Warminster Library on Wednesdays, 11.30am-1pm. Here, she shares her story of why reading – and particularly reading with people with memory loss – is so important to her:

My background is in English teaching, secondary trained, and I do love books. In particular, working with people with memory loss with reading is what I wanted to do because I believe in that pure, simple pleasure of reading. I also think that it’s something that’s taken away with a lot of other support groups that can happen for people with memory loss – literature can be forgotten, and so for me that was really important to see, that we celebrated it again.

The reading is of paramount importance, and what I enjoy is seeing the reaction of people. I thought it would be beneficial and I thought I would see it; what I wasn’t prepared for was the extent to which it happens; it is unbelievably moving and it is a real joy. We all seem to know that this is a safe place as well; that everybody can share things and emotions and memories.

Being in the group has taught me to put the analytical and critical side of myself aside sometimes and simply look at the text for enjoyment and a nudge for memory and nostalgia, which is a lot more important. It’s very interesting to have memories that people speak about but we root it all in the text. I also enjoy the calmness that comes from reading the text at a slower pace, it’s lovely.

I would encourage anybody who’s the slightest bit interest to get involved because it’s incredibly manageable; I’m here for an hour and a half, there’s a variety of libraries to choose from that people can take part in, and to see the effect it has on other people and on oneself is worth it.

Read more from Justine on her experience of shared reading and volunteering with TRO on her blog: http://www.hectorandhaddock.com/blogs/news/12524869-read-to-me

If you have excellent literacy and comprehension, are good at reading aloud or willing to learn to improve your skills, have the ability to manage group dynamics and a desire to relate to people in an open and human way, you could become a Volunteer Assistant Group Facilitator with us in Wiltshire. We ask for a one year commitment but the opportunity is ongoing and can last for as long as you and your group want it to, and The Reader Organisation will give full support.

For more information on volunteering with us in Wiltshire, please contact Josephine Corcoran: josephinecorcoran@thereader.org.uk or call 07812 238503, and see our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/volunteering/south-west

Library Memory Groups in Wiltshire currently run on Wednesdays (Warminster and Mere) and Thursdays (Purton and Pewsey), for full details of groups in the South West, visit our Reading With Us group map on our website.

We ask for a one year commitment but the opportunity is ongoing and can last for as long as you and your group want it to – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/volunteering/south-west.aspx#sthash.ToU6IHbB.dpuf
This opportunity will give you the chance to make a difference to the lives of people with memory loss, and to become part of The Reader Organisation in the South West, receiving fully funded training. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/volunteering/south-west.aspx#sthash.xsaEYXmr.dpuf
Funded by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and run by The Reader Organisation, Library Memory Groups to provide a stimulating environment where people with memory loss and those who care for them meet weekly to connect with each other through shared reading. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/volunteering/south-west.aspx#sthash.xsaEYXmr.dpuf
Funded by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and run by The Reader Organisation, Library Memory Groups to provide a stimulating environment where people with memory loss and those who care for them meet weekly to connect with each other through shared reading. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/volunteering/south-west.aspx#sthash.xsaEYXmr.dpuf

Ramsey Campbell at Calderstones Mansion House

April 10, 2014
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Ramsey CampbellRamsey Campbell
Monday 14th April, 11.30am-12.30pm
Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool L18 3JB

As part of Liverpool Learning Partnership’s City of Readers project, hear award-winning author Ramsey Campbell read from his work at this FREE event this Easter holiday at Calderstones Mansion House.

The Reader Organisation is working in partnership with City of Readers to raise the profile of reading across Liverpool, getting everyone to Give Us 5 for Reading. Alongside Frank Cottrell Boyce, Ramsey is another author who has pledged his support for the campaign by taking part in this special event.

Described as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer” by The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Ramsey is a horror fiction author, editor and critic. He has been writing for well over fifty years, with two of his novels being transported to the screen for non-English-speaking markets. One of the most celebrated horror writers of his generation, he has received more awards for his writing than any other author in the horror genre. It’s an unmissable opportunity to hear one of the country’s most prolific and experienced writers talk about his work.

For more information and to book your free place, please contact Emma Melling: emmamelling@thereader.org.uk or call 07812 238505.

There’ll be lots more happening for City of Readers over the coming months, so join in the fun as the whole city embarks on a reading adventure. Keep up to date with all that’s happening with City of Readers and find out how you can Give Us 5 by visiting http://www.cityofreaders.org/ or following City of Readers on Twitter: @LivCityReaders

Described as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer” by The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Ramsey is a horror fiction author, editor and critic. He has been writing for well over fifty years. Two of his novels have been filmed (for non-English-speaking markets). One of the most celebrated horror writers of his generation, he has received more awards for his writing than any other author in the horror genre. – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/ramsey-campbell-at-calderstones-mansion-house.aspx#sthash.IZ9kAYVc.dpuf

‘A ripple of triumph’: feeling Better with a Book in secure settings

April 9, 2014
Lord Howarth

Lord Alan Howarth will be speaking at Better with a Book, TRO’s fifth National Conference

Better with a Book, The Reader Organisation’s fifth annual National Conference, is coming to The British Library Conference Centre in London on Thursday 15th May, with booking now open. Join us and special guests including Lord Melvyn Bragg, Baroness Estelle Morris and Dr Alice Sullivan to explore how shared reading and literature can be utilised to improve mental health, stimulate emotional wellbeing and enhance quality of life.

Amongst the speakers at Better with a Book is Lord Alan Howarth, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing and previous Minister for Schools and Higher Education (1989-1992) and Minister for the Arts (1998-2001). Lord Howarth previously spoke about The Reader Organisation and his experience attending shared reading groups at last year’s Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference, in a speech about the creative power of the arts to make an impact on the health of individuals and communities.

After visiting one of our regular groups at Wormwood Scrubs, Lord Howarth corresponded with the group’s leader and practitioner Megg Hewlett, Reader-in-Residence at West London Mental Health Trust, to comment on the positive effects he found that shared reading had in the highly secure environment:

“I’m in no doubt that this particular experience of reading helps the participants to think anew about moral, personal and social issues through focusing calmly and attentively on the texts and relating to other people engaged collaboratively in the same activity.” – Lord Alan Howarth to Megg Hewlett, After the Visit, The Reader 53

A series of the correspondence between Lord Howarth and Megg appears in Issue 53 of The Reader magazine, alongside an interview with columnist and former prisoner Erwin James. In light of the recent news restricting the access that prisoners have to books, the piece indicates how shared reading of quality literature can offer bonding, a greater sense of self-awareness and a better understanding of a world outside of the self to prisoners and those residing in secure environments, factors which help to contribute to reducing reoffending. Lord Howarth will be chairing a discussion between Megg and Nick Benefield, previously Joint Head of the NHS and NOMS Offender Personality Disorder Implementation Programme, about the effects of shared reading as a therapeutic intervention in secure environments as part of Better with a Book.

In their correspondence featuring in The Reader 53, Megg explains the challenges of reading within a secure environment to Lord Howarth, which include engaging often reluctant readers amongst other factors. Yet once they discover that reading can be enjoyable and uplifting, other significant benefits follow:

“For many I read with a book is as terrifying as climbing a vertical rockface with little equipment and no training. When they first come into the room the terror is often palpable – a being in its own right – and my job is to attend to that part of the person, settle it down, and help them find some joy in something that has only previously given pain or been of no interest. You’re looking for small indications but they mark big events. The most common comment I have in that group is ‘I didn’t think I’d like this but it’s not bad’. When I hear this I feel a tiny ripple of triumph.”

Hear Megg speak to Lord Howarth firsthand about the experiences of sharing reading in secure environments, and learn more about how shared reading works practically in Psychologically Informed Planned Environments (PIPEs) at Better with a Book.

Full day delegate places (including VAT, lunch and refreshments) cost £140. Booking is available online via Eventbrite or via cheque or invoice – full information on how to book using these payment methods is available on the Conference page of our website. For queries or more information, please contact Abigail on abigailleader@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 207 7221.

For all the latest news on the Conference, follow the #betterwithabook hashtag on Twitter

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