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Care Homes Reading Project

Lead service provider/commissioner


University of Exeter

Type of knowledge

Type of knowledge:

Project description only

Prevention service description

Dr Johanna Harris sets the case for the projects necessity: “Our vision is that positive relationships between the young and the elderly are forged at a time when, in wider society, they are under increasing strain, daily life in care homes is under increasing scrutiny, and residents are often more isolated than ever”.

Each student volunteers visit a local care home with which they are linked, either weekly or fortnightly, to read with residents, and from this to establish friendships. Some care homes support organised reading ‘sessions’ (especially poetry) while others facilitate one-to-one conversations. Since 2011 the project has supported approximately 250 care home residents in Exeter with visits. In some homes the project collaborates with the charity Kissing It Better which are the care homes under the Guinness organisation. The project has a low expenditure of £1000 per year, which was initially funded by the University of Exeter. They have since reported receiving funding from Headley Trust for 2017/18. There are no paid staff: the Care Homes Reading Project continues to be co-ordinated by Dr Johanna Harris; training is provided by the University of Exeter’s Student Volunteering and Student Guild. The volunteers are predominantly English undergraduates at Exeter, with a few postgraduates also participating.

Intervention/service type:

Befriending, mentoring and peer support; Community services; Low-level support

Target client group(s):

Older people; Vulnerable adults

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