Shared Reading

The Reader, a charity based in Liverpool, trains people to deliver ‘shared reading’ in all sorts of community venues across the UK. ‘Shared Reading’ is reading aloud and taking about poems or novels. It is suitable for all abilities – readers and non-readers, and the focus is on the pleasure of the written word shared with others. There are groups for young mums, for people with dementia & their carers, and for prisoners. Groups read aloud and then chat about what they’ve heard. It is a lovely way of sharing thoughts about emotions and experiences. There is no ‘teacher’, and no hierarchy; the idea is to create a friendly, relaxed space in which people feel confident to talk about their responses to what they’ve read or heard.

7-1024x614Research shows that 93% of attendees say they feel better after attending a shared reading group, and now 35 NHS Trusts are partnered with The Reader organisation. GP Helen Willows comments, ‘The Reader’s approach has the power to transform the lives of the people that we see day after day at our surgery – those that are stuck, perhaps with low mood or who are socially isolated – these are people for whom another tablet is not going to make a difference.’

It is lovely to have another regular visitor, who is not a doctor or the hairdresser….the residents remember Vicki, and Shared Reading is talked about during the week. They think of feelings that they might not necessarily have thought about, and have fresh ideas. It’s a lovely group and well-run.
Staff Member, Christian Head

KSCA contributed towards the expenses of training our Secretary, Vicki Woof / Bertram, who is now a Reader Leader. Vicki goes into Christian Head once a week, taking poems to read to the residents.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Vicki c/o Kirkby Stephen Community Arts or visit The Reader’s website:

KSCA Steps Up: Keeping It Low Key

In July 2018 Kirkby Stephen experienced a very special and unique piece of theatre, created and performed by young people from the community. Pupils from Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, Appleby Grammar School, Kirkby Stephen Primary School, Orton C of E School and Warcop C of E Primary School worked with nationally-renowned theatre company Tangled Feet to create a bespoke theatrical performance. Pupils worked across all aspects of the production; acting, music, design, backstage, scriptwriting, media, marketing and catering. The Westmorland Family and Augill Castle provided support with catering and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick offered backstage and administrative expertise. During eight days of hard work, dedication and fun, 150 students put together a spectacular ensemble production which was enjoyed by over 400 members of our community.

KSCA Steps Up was funded by The Frieda Scott Charitable Trust, The John Strutt Foundation, The Westmorland Family and Westmorland Arts Trust.

You can watch the behind the scenes footage here:

Kirkby Stephen Steps Up - enquiry form