The Reader Cafe is on the move

We’re transforming Calderstones Mansion House to create The International Centre for Shared Reading. To allow essential works on the building to get underway, The Reader Cafe will be moving to a new, temporary home in the courtyard next to The Storybarn and The Reader Ice Cream Parlour.

The location may be changing for a while, but customers can expect the same menu, the same prices and the same warm Reader welcome. As we settle in, we’ll also be expanding the menu in the coming weeks.

The last day in our current Cafe is Monday 29 January. The cafe will then be closed from Tuesday 30 January to Friday 2 February with reopening set for Saturday 3 February.

And as a special welcome to our new, temporary home, The Reader Cafe will be offering free teas and filter coffees to the first fifty customers in our new home!

Last day: Monday 29 January
Closed: Tuesday 30 January – Friday 2 February
Reopen – Saturday 3 February

The Big Give Christmas Challenge Round Up

Seven days. Three match-funders. 292 donors. £45,881 pounds raised to train and support volunteers to bring weekly Shared Reading groups to isolated older people across the UK.


Phew – What a week! At midday on Tuesday we wrapped up The Big Give Christmas Challenge after a huge seven-day campaign to raise funds for our work with socially isolated older people.

We were blown away by the generosity of our supporters right across the country, from Cornwall up to Aberdeenshire, and from Norfolk all the way across to Tyrone, 292 individuals gave a total of £21,369 in just seven days.

And thanks to the support of CHK Charities Ltd, Booker Prize winning translator Deborah Smith and an anonymous match-funder we had an incredible opportunity to double the impact of individual donations made during the week-long campaign, which when combined with gift aid raised a total of £45,881 to train and support volunteer Reader Leaders who will read with older people in care homes and community settings across the UK.

To everyone who donated, baked, knitted, raised money through book sales, tweeted, talked to radio DJs, friends, family, neighbours and strangers to spread the news – we’d like to say a huge Reader thank you!

We launched the Christmas Challenge on Tuesday 28 November with our wonderful Knit and Natter group at our headquarters in Calderstones Park, with an incredible donation of £1106 raised through the sale of their homemade wares at The Reader Gallery. We also welcomed Rhod Davies from the Charity Aid Foundation to a Shared Reading group to celebrate Giving Tuesday.

We were thrilled by the wonderful feature on Deborah Smith’s support for the campaign on The Bookseller, who said:

“Ever since I won the prize I’ve been agonising over what to do with the money, and when I heard about the work The Reader does I thought ‘I want that to happen in Doncaster’.

Literature has opened so many doors for me and growing up I felt like my real education came from reading books from my local library, so it’s really important to me to be able to give something back.

Reading has so many amazing benefits for mental and physical health, which is why the idea that you have to have money or a particular education to access it is so damaging and dangerous. Books should be for everybody – my life would have been completely different without them.”

Read the article in full.

Across the week our friends at Cheshire Farm’s Ice Cream Farm raised money to donate to The Big Give Christmas Challenge and at Reader HQ we held a week of exciting events, with the Giving Tuesday Book Giveaway, after-dark heritage tours with The Calder Stones by Candlelight, a Literary Bake Off and festive fun at The Reader’s Christmas Courtyard Fair.

Calder Stones – history and future collide at Heritage Open Days

Take a guided tour of Calderstones Park and view the architects’ impressions of the refurbished The Mansion House at The Reader’s Courtyard Fair this Saturday, September 9. 

Continue reading “Calder Stones – history and future collide at Heritage Open Days”

Work begins to transform Calderstones Mansion into The International Centre for Shared Reading

Today, The Reader announce the next stage of work will begin to transform Calderstones Mansion House into The International Centre for Shared Reading.

Continue reading “Work begins to transform Calderstones Mansion into The International Centre for Shared Reading”

Threading Dreams at The Reader Gallery

20160928_115838.jpg

In The Reader Gallery this week we have a fantastic exhibition of Kantha embroidery from Bangladesh collected by Ruby Porter MBE during the 27 years she’s been volunteering for Sreepur Village.

Continue reading “Threading Dreams at The Reader Gallery”

Heritage Open Days at The Calderstones

calder stones01

The Heritage Open Days returns to Calderstones this September with an opportunity to get up close with the hidden treasures of the Park’s history and heritage.

Continue reading “Heritage Open Days at The Calderstones”

Scrubbed up well: Hero dog Jet gets a spring clean

13701072_10102608317140319_428314037392433976_o

Local schoolchildren bring Jet’s Memorial back to it’s former glory.

Continue reading “Scrubbed up well: Hero dog Jet gets a spring clean”

As You Like It at Calderstones Mansion

image001

Returning to Calderstones after the huge success of last summer’s production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, award-winning MATE Productions, in partnership with the Shakespeare North Trust & RSC Open Stage, will mark Shakespeare’s 400th birthday with a production of As You Like It.

 Journey deep into the Forest of Arden for this hilarious and magical outdoor promenade performance, as cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes learn how to embrace their imaginations, let go of their fears and surrender to romance.

MATE Productions is a Knowsley based community arts organisation that work in film, theatre, dance, storytelling and music to engage communities and young people across Merseyside, staging high quality productions in various theatres, arts and community venues and festivals. This has extended into greats halls, museums, docklands, pubs, and gardens such as our own lovely patch here at Calderstones.

You might have heard the Shakespeare North Trust mentioned in the news recently. They’re been granted planning permission and funding to build a £19 million commemorative theatre in the heart of Prescot’s historic town centre which boasted, over four hundred years ago, the only purpose-built playhouse outside London. The new theatre will have at it’s core an International University College, the first of it’s kind in the world focusing on Shakespearean performance practice.

Shakespeare North aims to make Knowsley once again a place where actors, writers, artists, students and young people will be able to study and practise the plays of Shakespeare; place which will attract scholars, students and visitors from all over the world.

 With live musicians and singers, stunning design and a talented local cast, this production promises an abundance of magic and fun for all the family.


Calderstones Mansion House gardens, Calderstones Park, L18 3JB
Saturday 11th June – 2pm & 6.30pm
Please bring a folding garden seat or a blanket to sit on. 

Tickets are available to purchase in person from Calderstones Mansion House (Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm)

Alternatively you can purchase tickets online here.
For more information telephone: 0151 426 4979 / 07833204058

trees-in-calderstones-park-c-dave-jones