What we do Older people Reading Friends in Derry/Londonderry In December 2018, we launched Reading Friends in Northern Ireland. Reading Friends progress Reading Friends connects people by starting conversations through reading. Since December, we have recruited and trained 15 Reading Friends volunteers. We have three active Reading Friends groups and two Reading Friends 1:1 sessions, with lots more in the pipeline. Who can take part in Reading Friends? Our project is for older people and Verbal has partnered with Older People North West to connect with groups and individuals in day centres, residential care homes, and in their own homes. Why do you have volunteers? Volunteers help the project to reach more people. They work with groups and individuals to co-produce each Reading Friends session by sourcing reading material and facilitating conversation. Reading Friends volunteers come from all walks of life. All we ask is that they are aged 18 or over, love reading and engaging with older people. Case studies Have a look at our case studies with Michael and with Sadie and Andy to find out what Reading Friends participants think of the programme. Or get to know our Reading Friends volunteer, Gerry. How do you support your volunteers? We offer a half-day induction session, which shows volunteers what to expect from Reading Friends. We also offer a safeguarding adults course and Access NI certification. Volunteers meet regularly to share progress and offer peer support. The project supports volunteers with anything from additional training to assistance with sourcing reading materials, or offering suggestions for Reading Friends sessions. Find out more To find out more about Reading Friends, contact Andrea O’Donnell at Verbal.