Ann Cleeves – Reading for Wellbeing

September 2021 - July 2021

Explore how stories and poems can offer comfort, escape, inspiration and laughter in difficult times.

Part of Better Connect

Ann Cleeves

Stories and poems to lift your mood - The Ann Cleeves Reading for Wellbeing project explored the positive impact reading and sharing ideas can have on your mental wellbeing.

Ann Cleeves of ‘Vera’ and ‘Shetland’ fame began the project to explore how stories and poems can offer comfort, escape, inspiration and laughter in difficult times. Working with Libraries and Public Health they enabled carers to have easy access to free books (audio,  printed and downloadable e-books). Supported by Mary Lowe, the Community Reading worker for North Tyneside, carers were assisted with both reading and choosing books.

For those who didn’t yet feel confident about meeting up with people post-Covid, Mary offered regular book chat phone calls, enrolled participants onto Libraries at Home and helped with downloading the free Borrowbox App giving access to thousands of audio and e- books.

And for those who were keen to venture out, she arranged visits, set up reading and book groups to meet in local venues, and helped families to support their children with reading from baby/toddler age onwards.

Both readers and non-readers were  welcome with the programme offering thousands of free audio books to download!


‘I’ve seen how understanding and confidence grows when individuals are encouraged to explore their experience through story. It gives a fresh perspective. A distance. Anger and resentment can dissipate. And because we’re sharing a bit of ourselves when we’re talking about books, friendships develop.’

Ann Cleves, Author

Find out more

Get it touch with Mary, if you’d like to know more about the Ann Cleeves project

Mary Lowe,

Community Reading Worker


Thanks to our Project Funders

Ann Cleeves was part of a national Reading for Wellbeing programme, funded by North Tyneside Council and Northumberland Healthcare Trust.

Ann Cleeves was part of Better Connect, funded by the Thriving Communities Fund, which totals £1.4 million, delivered by Arts Council England and has been made possible by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (contributing £1.15m from the Department of Health and Social Care) and Arts Council England (providing £250k from the National Lottery). Other strategic partners to the programme include NHS England and NHS Improvement, Historic England, Sport England, Natural England, the Office for Civil Society, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.