I met with The Reading Agency, a national charity with the aim of tackling loneliness and isolation through encouraging people of all ages and economic background to read. They work with publishers and writers highlighting big reading events, new reading recommendations and book prizes as well as supporting people to develop their skills and knowledge.
I heard about the programmes that the charity is expanding in response to the pandemic. These are designed to connect people, combat loneliness and improve mental health. I was also pleased to hear about the work they are doing in East Newcastle specifically. This includes a plan to tackle the dip in reading over the summer holidays with a pilot of a local authority partnership model for delivery of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. The annual reading for pleasure programme keeps children reading through the summer with incentives and fun activities.