New service user reading group a great success

A new service user led reading group is proving to be a huge success on Cygnet Hospital Bierley’s PICU service for women, Denholme Ward.

The idea for the reading group was initially put together by a group of service users and presented to the Occupational Therapy Assistant on the ward. The group was designed to help improve the service users stay whilst on the unit. The idea behind the group is to read a chapter a day of a given book, reviewing each chapter, then upon completing the book, relax for an afternoon with some popcorn and watch the movie related to the book again with a review.

The first choice of book was ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’. The story was gripping from the start, and made everyone excited to come back each day. As the group went on and more stories were being read, we found that the service user’s confidence was increasing so much that they even took on the roles of the characters themselves and began improvising with accents and actions.

“I personally found parts of the book difficult to read, which mirrored some of my own personal life, I felt very emotional at times, as did other peers including staff. It allowed us to reflect on how we felt and also provided a forum for us to discuss feelings and realise that we are not alone. We found a deep connection with each other, which grew our bonds on the ward”Service user

The main benefits that were outlined after the trial run were, greater confidence, improved concentration, friendships, peer support and a new found pleasure of reading. The group has been made accessible to all, so no one is isolated. Even if people don’t want to read, they can just sit and listen.

“There is a message that came from the book, that rings true to us all, and that is that, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS, THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY FORWARD.”Service user

Since the first book and film, and its popularity within the ward, the group have also read ‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Short Stories From Around The World’, a short rendition of ‘Dracula’s Guest’ which linked to the 1922 silent movie Nosferatu. The next book and film is planned to be ‘Of Mice and Men’.

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