Running a Reading Friends project

An older man smiles while holding a mug and an older woman smiles at him.

The Reading Agency, with support from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, expanded through public library services in England in 2021. We are working on other models so other organisations can take part. If you’re a different organisation, please register your interest, and we can let you know when we’re able to expand further.


If you’re wanting to volunteer to lead or support sessions, then find out more about the Reading Friends Volunteer role.

Join a group

If you want to join a group, then take a look at Reading Friends near you. You can register your interest if there isn’t a group near you.

What is it?

Reading Friends connects people by starting conversations through reading, providing opportunities to meet others, share stories, make new friends, and have fun. It creates social connections and takes a person-centred approach, building on interests and hobbies to get people talking.

Watch Yarn Natter Blether and Reading Friends in Wales to see some of our participants and volunteers who met in-person before Covid and view our sharing stories section for more. Projects have been increasingly running Reading Friends over the phone and virtually during the pandemic.

Read our Guiding Principles to find out what makes us different! We aren’t a traditional reading group and people taking part in Reading Friends don’t need to be ‘readers’ as reading is used as a conversation starter, to create connections and to help people get to know each other.

What do you need?

You need to have appropriate policies and procedures in place. We have information about useful ones once you get started with Reading Friends, but these are some of the key policies you must have:

  • Safeguarding
  • Health and Safety
  • Data protection or Privacy
  • EDI policy
  • A volunteer policy
  • Risk assessments

When we’re ready to expand further, the next step is to sign an agreement, then we give you access to our training and resources. In the meantime, please get in touch to register your interest to run Reading Friends.

The Reading Agency

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