In partnership with The Reader Organisation: The International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing

BACKGROUND

In 2014 The Reader signed a 125 year lease with Liverpool City Council with a view to renovating the Grade II-listed Mansion House, Coach House & Stable Yard within Calderstones Park, Liverpool, to create a centre for people of all ages and backgrounds to read, learn and play. It will become The International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing. An interactive children’s story centre The Storybarn was added in 2016. Nearly £4 million investment has been received from Heritage Lottery Fund and other trusts to implement the redevelopment and transformation of the historic Mansion House and the restoration of the Neolithic standing stones from which the park takes its name.

Research is a fundamental element to the work of the Centre, and the University of Liverpool Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS) is the research partner in this groundbreaking project.

CRILS (led by Professor Philip Davis, Dr Josie Billington and Professor Rhiannon Corcoran) gained an Arts and Humanities Research Council Culture Value grant to explore the intrinsic value of shared, read-aloud reading groups at Calderstones and a further follow-on grant to create on-line resources., concerningthe value of shared reading, n order to help to build a national future for reader volunteering.

AIM

This initiative, which we call a Reading Revolution, offers a unique opportunity to deliver a programme of high-level interdisciplinary research, combining literature, psychology, sociology and health, run in active collaboration within a practice-based environmental setting. The research will predominantly focus on a diverse community of volunteers.

The aim is to create a Positive Wellbeing model for Social Prescription by working in partnership with Mersey Care NHS and other stakeholders.

IMPACT

The project offers a unique opportunity to carry out innovative research through using a practical experimental centre, to test and explore how reading interventions and a community resource of this type can have impact on the health and well-being of societies. The research into the social and personal value of serious reading for mental health and wellbeing across a wide range of communities has the ability to inform and change future public policy.