Hospice opens its doors to pioneering health and well-being project

October 02

St. Joseph’s Hospice will open its doors to the local community on Tuesday 9th October for the launch of a brand new health and wellbeing project, in partnership with Liverpool-based charity, The Reader.

The event, which starts at 2pm, has been organised to mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which takes place the same week.

The Reader sparks personal and social change by bringing people together and books to life at weekly Shared Reading sessions.

Volunteers from The Reader have been trialling the project with staff at St. Joseph’s Hospice for the last few months but, from October, they will also be offering regular Shared Reading sessions to help support members of the local community as well as patients and families currently using hospice services.

Kirsty Styles, The Reader’s National Membership Development Manager, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing our Shared Reading groups to St. Joseph’s Hospice. We believe that literature is full of the stuff that makes us human. When we bring great books, poems and plays to life through live reading aloud and group discussion, it helps us to feel connected, involved and valued. By providing a creative and safe space to explore our inner lives, and develop meaningful relationships with others, Shared Reading improves well-being and builds community.”

The University of Liverpool’s Centre for Research into Literature, Reading and Society has found a significant improvement in the mental health of patients living with depression during the 12-month period in which they attended The Reader’s Shared Reading groups. There was a positive effect in the alleviation of pain symptoms and psychological wellbeing for those living with chronic pain and also improved mood and reduced agitation for 86% of those living with dementia.

Mike Parr, Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s Hospice, said: “There have been lots of studies in to the importance of reading on mental health. It can reduce stress levels significantly and makes people feel happier so we are really pleased to be involved with this project.

“We all encourage children to read, not just to improve their general vocabulary and spelling but also for their general cognitive development. But it’s just as important for adults, especially those living with mental and physical health conditions. We’re really excited about the project and our partnership with The Reader and we hope lots of people will come along and give it a go on Tuesday 9th October.”

Volunteers from The Reader will be taking Shared Reading sessions at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Thornton from 2pm on Tuesday 9th October. If you’d like to come along or find out more, please contact Norma Young on 0151 932 6044 or email norma.young@jospice.org.uk.