The people of Liverpool are being asked to volunteer their time, skills, and support to help The Reader transform Calderstones Mansion House into The International Centre for Shared Reading.
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar, co-hosted a special lunch event at the Mansion House bringing together professionals from the business, educational and cultural sectors to pledge their support and make the regeneration project a city-wide collaboration.
Liverpool City Council awarded The Reader ‘preferred bidder status’ for the building in January 2013 and they plan to regenerate it as a community hub where people from across Liverpool and beyond can come together to enjoy reading and wellbeing activities.
The Lord Mayor said:
“I was one of the 1200 people who visited Calderstones in April, when The Reader opened the doors for the first time in 30 years, and I am thrilled to see this much-loved building being brought back to life by a local social enterprise.
Reading is vital to our chances in life and everyone deserves the opportunity to discover the power of great books for themselves. The Reader will make this happen and the people of Liverpool are key to helping them achieve this.”
The Reader, who recently won the ‘Growth’ award at the Social Enterprise Network Powerful Together Awards, have already hosted touring performances from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a summer fair, and run four free shared reading groups a week for both adults and children at the Mansion House. They are the official partners in Mayor Joe Anderson’s City of Readers Campaign.
The funds for the project will be secured through social investors and national funding bodies, as well as the organisation’s own social enterprise activities. Creating local jobs and volunteering opportunities through sustainable not-for-profit businesses are central to their plans to develop an internationally recognised centre based on reading.
Jane Davis, MBE, founder and director of The Reader said:
“Our vision for Calderstones is a place with volunteering at its heart, where everyone can read, work, play, make new friends and find new opportunities.
The people of Liverpool have so much to offer, from donating books and unwanted furniture, sharing their skills, or simply giving an hour of their time. Together, we can create a Liverpool landmark which changes lives.”