Reading Agency chosen for Times Christmas Appeal

Reading Agency chosen for Times Christmas Appeal

The Reading Agency is one of three charities chosen for the Times Christmas Appeal this year. 

It will focus on the organisation’s work on loneliness and reading, highlighting its Reading Friends programme. 

Launched in 2017 with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, the Reading Friends scheme tackles loneliness using reading to start conversations and connect people in libraries, prisons, care homes, community centres, and recovery cafes. 

Karen Napier, chief executive of The Reading Agency, said: "We’re delighted to be included in this year’s Christmas Appeal in the Times. It’s a really fantastic opportunity to highlight the impact that reading can have on tackling loneliness and social isolation. As a charity, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone has the tools to read their way to a better life, and our Reading Friends programme is a testament to the impact that shared reading can have.”

Reading Friends now has 45 projects across the UK designed to address loneliness. Last year, the programme reached over 1,500 participants and 200 volunteers through 21 local projects.

The Reading Agency commissioned think-tank Demos last year to conduct research into the impact of reading on some of society’s most pressing concerns. The report, "A Society of Readers", predicted that there will be over seven million people experiencing loneliness in the over-60 age group alone, and that almost two million will have a shortened life due to loneliness.

The Times has also selected War Child and climate change charity Possible for this year’s appeal.