Blog: ‘Feel better with a book’ by our STaR worker, Ian

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My name is Ian Brown and I work for the STAR Team at Mid and North East Essex MIND. I offer clients who are  experiencing anxiety and depression practical support on issues including housing, benefits, employment debt and social isolation. I work four days a week for the service and been in post several years.

On Fridays I undertake a different role and I  volunteer for the Essex Library Service. I co- facilitate a Book Group called Feel Better with a Book with my colleague Jill. This takes place on Friday morning at Colchester Library from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm.

This is a read- aloud book group where we read and discuss short stories and poems which the group members take in turns to read. Typically each person would read two or three pages of the story before passing over to the next reader. When we do the poems, we tend to read the same poem two or three times, each reading being done by  a different person, before we discuss them.

 There is never any obligation or pressure to read and it is fine to come along and just listen to the stories and poems. Unlike most traditional book groups there is no need to read anything in advance and each week you come there will be new stories or poems. The things we read are incredibly diverse and we try to appeal to all tastes.

The group is open to anybody whatever age and background and is totally free. Some of the members of the group may have had  previous contact with MIND but this is not necessary and there is no referral process, just turn up and say hello.

The group is very supportive and friendly and we get anything between 6 and 12 members coming each week. We have been running the group  for 3 years now and we recently celebrated our third anniversary with a cake specially made for the occasion, featuring a quotation about the magic of books!

So if you love books, please do come along and join us  and we look forward to see you there.