Lord Mayor calls on Liverpool to help bring Mansion House back to life

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.”

The Reader Ice Cream Parlour family fun day in Calderstones Park

This weekend, on October the 10th, we will be officially opening The Reader Ice Cream Parlour! With twenty-two flavours of Cheshire Farm ice cream ranging from Ferrero Rocher to bubble-gum, delicious milkshakes and hot drinks to boot, the Parlour will be a place for parents and children to chill out, whatever the weather.

22 flavours of Cheshire Farm Ice Cream

22 flavours of Cheshire Farm Ice Cream

We ran a competition in the Liverpool Echo to select a special visitor for our grand opening, and we are now delighted to announce that eight-year-old Mabel Shone will be cutting the ribbon and officially opening the Ice Cream parlour. Mabel was selected after sending over her favourite poem to us. After the ribbon cutting at 11:30am we will be having fun activities for the rest of the afternoon; in addition to a bouncy castle and face painting, we will have a live band, a book signing by Jude Lennon and of course, shared reading for the children. Oh, and keep a look out for our giant penguin mascot too!

We value social enterprise in Calderstones very highly, and along with our Storybarn, which will be opening soon, the Ice Cream Parlour will be a place where parents and children can relax and connect together. We will also be running shared reading groups in the parlour.

Please do come down and try a flavour or two – in fact, if you buy one scoop we’ll give you one for free!

To stay up to date with all the news at the parlour, follow: http://www.twitter.com/caldiesicp

The latest from Calderstones Mansion – including the story of the Storybarn

There’s been a lot going on at Calderstones Mansion in the last few months – with lots of help from the hardworking and generous team at Prinovis, we’ve been able to open our first refurbished Reading Room to enable our group members to enjoy weekly sessions even more, and the summer has seen a number of outdoor productions stop off at the Garden Theatre, including shows from Illyria, MATE Productions and three sell-out performances of Romeo and Juliet from The Globe On Tour, with not even a spot or two of rain enough to dampen proceedings.

We are creating an International Centre for Reading at Calderstones, so it’s fitting that we could welcome a special visitor from the other side of the world earlier this month. Shirley Bateman, Reader Development Team Leader from Melbourne Library Service came to The Reader HQ as part of her tour of literary projects around the UK and Ireland. As well as hearing all about the City of Readers campaign, Jane took Shirley on a tour of Calderstones, including the amazing Prinovis Reading Room. You can read more about the visit on Shirley’s blog: https://shirleybateman.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/more-famous-than-the-beatles/

More exciting news is just around the corner…development of the Storybarn, the North West’s first interactive story centre for children and families, is taking shape outside HQ as we type, and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide when it opens this Autumn. The Storybarn has been made possible thanks to funding from the Social Investment Business and their Liverpool City Region Impact Fund – our Head of Facilities Craig spoke to SIB about the plans for the Storybarn and how it will encourage imagination and a love of reading in future generations:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4x67BG54mM]

Keep up to date with all of the latest at the Mansion House on the Calderstones section of our website, and by following @CaldiesMansion on Twitter – where you can see the newest, very exciting installation to the Storybarn, tested by our Storybarn Developer Holly and Jane herself!