The Reading Agency launches Read, Talk, Share campaign to combat loneliness

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The campaign is backed by Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts as well as authors Amanda Prowse and Natasha Devon

Expanding on The Reading Agency charity's Reading Well and Reading Friends campaigns to tackle loneliness, support mental health and promote wellbeing through reading, Read, Talk, Share is made possible by at £3.5 million grant from the Department for Digital Culture, Media & Sport. It will work with libraries across the UK to tackle loneliness and support mental health through reading, talking and sharing as part of the UK's Covid recovery.

'Wherever you are or whatever your circumstances, a good book enables you to leave your reality and get lost in the story you can’t put down,' said Nicola Roberts. "There’s a comfort in the occupancy you can’t quite explain. During lockdown, especially for those living alone, while there is nothing to busy your mind but tv and your own thoughts, reading can be a therapeutic escape.

'I often feel like I’m not being productive enough and with so many of us especially those in the arts not being able to do what we love, it’s sounds small but the tiniest achievement of finishing a book really does give some self-satisfaction. I haven’t been an avid reader all my life and it’s only been since the world slowed due to the pandemic that I have grown to love reading as much as I do now. I wish I had made more time for reading as a girl while growing into a woman.  That’s why I’m proud to champion Read, Talk, Share which ultimately is about the power of books to bring us together, uplift us and help us through life’s challenges.'

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, said: 'Tackling loneliness and supporting mental health and wellbeing across the country has always been a priority for The Reading Agency. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis' impact on the country’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing cannot be underestimated, and our Reading Well and Reading Friends programmes are perfectly placed to assist the nation in recovery. Our mission remains to help people tackle life’s challenges through the proven power of reading, and to bring people together, ease our burdens, and foster wellbeing and understanding. We are immensely grateful to DCMS for their support - this feels like a real vote of continued confidence in the role of public libraries and their important contribution to society.'

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