Thousands of people in Birmingham will take 10 minutes to read in support of mental health and wellbeing

06 Oct 2021

On Friday 8 October, thousands of school students and businesses in Birmingham are set to take part in the National Literacy Trust’s #Take10ToRead Challenge as part of the charity’s Connecting Stories initiative with Arts Council England, proudly supported by Birmingham-based company Wesleyan.

The challenge hopes to inspire wellbeing-boosting reading habits ahead of World Mental Health Day – and encourage participants to continue these behaviours long after the awareness day. It comes as National Literacy Trust research* shows that over 2 in 5 (44.6%) children say that reading makes them feel better.

At 10am on Friday 8 October, children and adults in Birmingham will stop what they are doing to pick up a book and read for 10 minutes.

Birmingham Stories, the literacy campaign from the National Literacy Trust and University of Birmingham, is set to engage 11,000 children and Birmingham business employees in the wellbeing-boosting activity.

Meanwhile, specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan, who are headline partners of this campaign will be encouraging their staff to take part at 10am and share a selfie with their favourite book. They are also hosting a book swap at their Birmingham Head Office and inviting staff to bring in any children’s books which are no longer needed and these will be donated to their local partner school St Chads.

Take 10 is also being celebrated across the country, with people picking up books, comics, magazines, or newspapers for 10 minutes at 10am on the 8 October. Schools, authors, publishers, and businesses will be sharing images on social media with the hashtag #Take10ToRead to inspire their communities to get reading every day.

As part of the Connecting Stories initiative, which addresses the literacy attainment gap across the UK, children nationwide are invited to a digital events with authors promoting their positive experiences of supporting wellbeing through reading and writing.

At 9.45am on 8 October, primary school students will enjoy a live experience with award-winning author Tom Percival, who will give pupils a sneak peek of his brand new book Silas and the Marvellous Misfits, and secondary school students will experience an event with acclaimed novelist Louisa Reid, who will discuss her book Gloves Off.

“Everyone at Birmingham Stories is so excited about Take 10 – and we can’t wait to see what people choose to read at 10am on Friday 8 October. All reading counts, whether it’s a recipe, a favourite novel, or some pages from the two very exciting Connecting Stories author events for schoolchildren. “For anyone thinking about how to make small, positive changes that last beyond World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October, we know that reading can tangibly boost someone’s wellbeing. The last eighteen months have been exceptionally hard for everyone and just ten minutes of reading can help make you feel better.”

Gaganpreet Kaur Basra, Birmingham Stories Hub Manager

“We are so pleased to be partnering and supporting the National Literacy Trust’s Take 10 initiative – and working closely on the ground with the Birmingham Stories team to engage local businesses and schools. Many of Wesleyan’s customers are teachers and therefore we are committed to supporting schools, children and young people who need it most. “The team here at HO will all be taking 10 to read on Friday 8 October!”

Jessica Wilkes-Ball, Social Responsibility Lead at Wesleyan

Schools, organisations and families can find out more about Take 10 and sign up to take part online at