Hi, I am Liz, Carers’ Book Group Organiser Volunteer
Ten years ago, I had been looking for a voluntary role outside work, when I saw in the Carers Leeds newsletter an advert to start a new book group, because the existing one at Carers Leeds was oversubscribed.
I was immediately interested and knew something about Carers Leeds through work and was attracted towards the organisation. Reading, particularly novels, has been one of my chief leisure activities since I was a child. The idea of organising a book group with others who also love reading and wanted a social space away from their caring responsibilities, sounded like something I would enjoy.
Several of the original members are still with the group; others have joined and then moved on to other things. We have been meeting every six to eight weeks on a Wednesday to discuss a novel we have all read. The group members are always supportive and Leeds Central Library (@LeedsLibraries) staff have, for most of this time, provided us with books which we have chosen from their list of multiple copies of books.
The staff at Carers Leeds have always been encouraging and helpful. When covid restrictions came in, there was a short period when we had a pause in our meetings. After a while Valerie, the Volunteer Coordinator, suggested that we could meet via Zoom and order our own books until we could meet again face to face. I was not keen! But Valerie coaxed and coached me until I ‘sort’ of got the hang of it; she was on hand when I, or the technology, failed. Having the meetings online enabled the group to keep going, keep in contact and still keep reading and discussing books together. Personally it was invaluable to me at this time, as a way of connecting with people with whom I have a shared interest.
We have only just begun to meet face to face again. As well as talking about the books we have read, we tell each other about our other interests and have a general chat. Anyone who is a carer is welcome to join the group. Now that we can meet up again in person, we’ll be able to share a cup of tea and some nice biscuits.
“Liz is great. She is very sensitive to everybody’s situation and feelings.”
Calling all booklovers the Carers Book Group is now open to new members!
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Valerie Banks, Volunteer Coordinator on 07985 754 570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.