Reading for Wellbeing was initiated and part funded by award-winning author Ann Cleeves to mark the 21st anniversary of her North East detective character Vera Stanhope, in recognition of the solace Ann has found in stories throughout her life. Ann wanted to give something back to the region given the success of Vera, which is based in the north east and is now a successful television series.
In March 2020, author Ann Cleeves presented as the key-note speaker at the North East Public Health England Annual Conference. She talked about her passion for reading for pleasure as a means to improving wellbeing and ended her speech with a challenge to those present, pledging to provide match funding to the authorities committed to setting up a Community Reading Worker project.
By early 2023 the project has been adopted in 6 north east local authorities, employing a total of 9 Community Reading Workers working in very local community settings with a number of other Local Authorities wanting to adopt this way of working.