Government should invest in reading to combat loneliness
A new report entitled A Society of Readers, from leading think tank Demos and commissioned by national charity The Reading Agency, finds a significant body of evidence to show that reading can help to combat the growing issue of loneliness, as well as acting as a tool to protect future generations from the loneliness epidemic.
The report predicts that by 2030 loneliness in the UK will reach epic proportions, with seven million people experiencing loneliness in the over-60 age group alone. Key points are:
- Almost two million will have a shortened life due to loneliness
- Over two million will suffer a stroke, while more than double will develop dementia which can be linked to loneliness
- Reading books has been found to significantly reduce feelings of loneliness for people aged 18 to 64. Reading has also been significantly associated with having close relationships
- The report proposes reading as an effective intervention for social isolation and loneliness, as well as other big societal issues, and suggests that reading can help to protect future generations
- Along with Demos, the Reading Agency is calling on the government to take reading more seriously and invest £200 million in using reading to combat loneliness
- The report recommends the creation of "Book Relief" along similar lines to Comic Relief fundraiser Sport Relief, to raise money for reading charities and raise the profile of reading.
Read more and download the report from the Reading Agency website