NHS funding slashed for Burnley and Pendle reading group

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A BURNLEY community project which helps people with physical and mental illness through reading has had its funding stopped by NHS East Lancashire.

The Get Into Reading scheme, which was launched two years ago, encourages small groups of people to read aloud together, respond personally and share their thoughts within the group.

The groups include people who have been bereaved, people with long-term health problems, people with drug or other addictions, carers and people with learning difficulties or dyslexia.

Existing groups in Burnley will continue to run with support from Lancashire County Council.

Project manager Janet Swann said: “The group of us that run and deliver the project, which includes library staff, volunteers and many who have benefited from the groups, are disappointed especially as this is such a cost-effective way of helping people to cope and, therefore, the powerful support for the project from managers of services and key stakeholders in the community. We are surprised, therefore, that we have not been given more support by the local NHS, especially as we have met all the targets that we agreed with them.”

But the group, which also runs in Pendle, has managed to secure some funding from Pendle Council to set up a new group in Brierfield.

Mrs Swann added: “One ray of hope has come from Pendle Council which has supported the groups via the successful Arts on Prescription scheme and now via the Connecting Communities Grant to set up a new group at Brierfield Library.

“Groups that are led by the library staff will also be continuing thanks to support from Lancashire County Council Library and Information Service, but the project will no longer be able to reach out to new areas. We are, of course, applying to other funding bodies, but we also realise the power of support that can come from the local community”.

Anyone who wishes to use the service or who can volunteer to get involved, can contact Janet for more information on 01282 414287.