Wee Read is a new social enterprise promoting community reading and writing, founded by Christine Cather. We love sharing poems and stories, by reading them aloud and then chatting about them. Reading aloud is a great way to get involved in a group and anyone who doesn’t wish to read out does not have to do so. All you need to do is listen!
We’re convinced of the therapeutic value of shared reading – for anybody
Wee Read also leads groups in expressive writing, which means – whatever you write is right. It’s all about speaking with your own voice. Wee Read is happy to come to you to facilitate as reading and writing groups. We are a Hamilton-based social enterprise that is set up to benefit the community. Our services are about building mental wealth – a positive sense of wellness and resilience. We hope that participating in the groups will support people to manage their mental and physical health better.
Fighting the taboo and stigma of talking about mental illness is a core part of our practice. Fun and a playful approach within our groups are also essential elements, helping us to open up to the friendships that can grow between the group members!
She asked the librarian, Wendy Kirk, for a topic to do as her thesis. Wendy said ‘Bibliotherapy’ and Christine said ‘What is that?’ And so began a turning point in her life. She spent six months as librarian in the Women’s Library to cover maternity leave. Best job ever! They do regular reading events open to all women, and are involved with many community groups across Scotland.
Later Christine was outreach librarian for Glasgow Addictions Services- who paid for training in creative bibliotherapy. For this, she went to Burton Manor near Chester for a residential week run by The Reader Organisation called Read to Lead, where she met Adrian who was to become a fellow Director at Wee Read. This course gave a firm grounding for thinking about and bringing into practice groups of shared reading aloud and talking about the poems or stories we read.
From 2009 to 2015, Christine worked in Knowledge Services at NHS Education for Scotland developing bibliotherapy and health literacy work. She managed to gather a network of librarians, poets, storytellers and more to focus on developing words for wellbeing.
As a poet herself, Chrisitne has been a member of the Bank St. Poets in Glasgow for many years. Adrian joined more recently. Larry Butler led this group for years, and now we take turns to lead, sharing our own poetry and receiving gentle feedback and advice. Larry is a founder of Lapidus Uk, and supports the busy Lapidus Scotland activities in words and wellbeing. As a member Christine’s details are held on their website
Lapidus and NHS Education for Scotland produced a new toolkit to support facilitators in reading or writing groups, storytelling and similar activities, Words Work Well ! There is a contribution about Christine’s work here.
This website is intended to reach people who are keen to try facilitating or just trying some expressive writing and reading, either for pleasure or for therapeutic benefits. We hope we can be creative in making this Wee Read a place we can come for a blether about what we’re reading or writing. Please subscribe to oue blog or just add a comment – We will be delighted to read them!
We are putting together some useful links, mainly Scottish contacts if you’re looking for some more information. Some of these are support services for anyone with mental health issues. You’ll find useful and interesting our site’s section on the wider context of bibliotherapy: her you’ll be linked to other organisations, articles and research. We will have contributions by people who are telling stories and writing around Scotland and the world. Please feel free to send me anything you would like to see here!
What we’d love to see in the future is a lot of story-corners, poetry-corners, reading cafes and community blethers all over Scotland. Bibliotherapy has proved its worth in many places, and is well backed by the medical profession and research. We want to see it grow in our regions and across Scotland, and to share with others our practices, research and development issues.