Student launches wellbeing reading project

Date 16.02.2022

A student at the University is helping older people in the town to ‘train their brains’ with a shared reading group.

Hayley Barton is studying for her PhD, centred on how lifestyle changes might help offset age-related cognitive decline (difficulties with learning, memory and thinking). As part of this, she has created the literature support group ‘Reading for Wellbeing’.

The project – which kicks off in March – will see up to 20 pairs of older adults (aged 65+) and children (aged 5-12) meet once every two weeks to read and listen together.

Over the next six months, Hayley and fellow researchers from the UON Psychology team will collect data about cognitive function and the participants’ subjective feelings of their wellbeing.

Hayley said: “I am very proud to be leading this Reading for Wellbeing project, which the team and I have been planning for some time now.

“My previous work has focused on cognitive aging, reading, and eye movement behaviour, so it’s great to have the opportunity to put this into practice in a useful way that people will also enjoy.

“Although Reading for Wellbeing is on the cusp of starting, we hope that the findings and feedback will be used to secure larger grant funding to run the project on a permanent basis.”

To help make the project possible, Hayley won £1,000 from the Persimmon Homes Community Champion Fund. The money will go towards reading materials and resources, as well as securing a base for the reading group.