The Reading Agency has been chosen for the Times’ Christmas Charity Appeal 2019.
The Reading Agency is a UK charity that promotes reading across age groups. The charity works closely with our public services to provide materials in schools, prisons and of course, libraries.
As Christmas dawns on us, it’s important to remember that Christmas joy isn’t universal. As the Reading Agency have outlined as a key issue in their campaign this winter, loneliness is a common experience during this period.
Loneliness is exacerbated by the constant marketing of the happy Christmas family, whether directly through ads or through more cultural Christmas elements. Books can help expand lonelier realities in the act of reading itself and through the social connections they can promote.
Its appeal is based around their scheme Reading Friends, which, according to their website, was first launched in 2017 to tackle “loneliness” and “social isolation”.
The Charity cites stats which reveal over nine million people in the UK are either always or often feeling lonely. With the Reading Friends scheme, the charity aims to connect people to others and to create social networks through the power of reading.
Reading is powerful, which was proven by another scheme of the Agency’s. The Agency is working with public libraries to create spaces for people who suffer from dementia and their carers, providing a ‘unique line of books’ that can make reading accessible once again for older people developing dementia.
So what can we do?
Well, there are a few things. You can share the Charity’s work on your socials via this article or by directly linking the Charity’s website.
You can also have a look at starting a local Reading Friends group in your area, information for which is provided on the website.
To donate, simply visit their donation page where guideline amounts are provided.
On a final note, whilst Christmas is an absolutely pivotal time of year for charities to receive donations, charities are necessary to the way we operate in society today. So if you value the work the Reading Agency does, try making a commitment. This doesn’t have to be anything massive from your side, maybe just a small donation for every book haul you do during the year.
Books remain important for us all, so I really do urge you to get involved in any way you can manage!