Published: 12:31, 29 November 2018
Older readers in Folkestone proved that Bookbinders was their cup of tea when their reading group won a countywide challenge.
The winning team, whose eldest member is 98, have notched up an impressive number of meetings at Age UK’s day centre since the summer to read and discuss poetry.
Their prize was to be served an afternoon tea, including a selection of sandwiches and cakes, at their latest reading session.
Zena Cooper, who leads the group, said: “I love this group. When we meet up they all contribute to some really fascinating discussions about the poems we are reading.”
The competition was run by Bookbinders which helps organisations to set up reading groups to improve adult literacy skills.
Michael James, co-ordinator of Bookbinders, said: “I’m so pleased to say a big well done and thank you to this group for such dedication to reading. This is a very supportive and friendly gang who enjoy their time together and feel comfortable to share their points of view.
“Following the centenary of the end of World War One they read the poem 'Out of the Dark' by Edward Thomas - a writer who lived in Kent before he was killed at the Battle of Arras. This prompted one member of the group to say ‘I never took much notice of poetry when I was at school. But since I've been reading them here it strikes me that I wish I had.’
“It’s wonderful to know that participants are getting a lot out of their reading sessions.”
The Bookbinders scheme was created for organisations working with educationally disadvantaged or vulnerable adults – such as the homeless or young people not in education or training (NEETs) – and is supported by People’s Postcode Lottery and Salway Grassroots Fund.
Since then the scheme has grown to include any group of adults who could benefit from improved communication and literacy skills in a supportive environment.