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Storytellers, teddies and mini-donkeys create #Take10ToRead moments in Suffolk

14 Oct 2022

Haverhill storyteller 2 credit: Susan King

Taking 10 for World Mental Health Day

At 10am on Monday 10 October, people across Suffolk took part in the National Literacy Trust’s #Take10ToRead challenge for World Mental Health Day. The campaign promotes the link between reading for pleasure and positive mental wellbeing, encouraging everyone to drop everything and read for ten minutes to boost their mood.

The #Take10ToRead challenge encourages schools, businesses and communities to stop what they’re doing and take the time to read and focus on their wellbeing every day. Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that reading can be an effective way of helping people to take care of their mental health and wellbeing. It only takes 10 minutes a day to see the benefits, including boosting mood, reducing stress levels and improving memory and concentration.

In Haverhill, a #Take10ToRead trail saw families travel through the town centre to meet 10 different storytellers who took 10 minutes to read some of their favourite stories. Around 180 people enjoyed the trail, with some visiting several locations and others dropping into just one.

"I hope that people across Suffolk have been inspired to read for pleasure today and every day moving forward.”

Sarah Olley, Project Manager for Get Suffolk Reading

Get Suffolk Reading took #Take10ToRead to a teddy bear's picnic in Stowmarket, where more than 75 children enjoyed activities including a Winnie the Pooh trail and arts and crafts. The event was in collaboration with Stowmarket Dementia Action Alliance, so encouraged interaction and reading between young and old.

In addition, the winners of our May #Take10ToRead photo competition got their prize - a visit from the Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing organisation. Chester and Harry (and the rest of the children and staff at Crawford's Primary School in Stowmarket) got to meet mini-donkey Saffron and her two-year-old son Jack!

Events at Rainbow Nursery and East Coast College in Lowestoft took #Take10ToRead into two educational settings. Parents and children loved the books at Rainbow Nursery, while students at East Coast College were supported at a wellbeing event with books, origami bookmarks and pin badges!

"Taking 10 minutes out of your day to read or listen to a story has all sorts of mental health benefits. For a start, you are relaxing – and there is research that suggests reading reduces stress levels, calming down the heart rate more effectively than watching TV or making a cup of tea. And reading can have a magical effect on us – enriching our imaginations through the metaphors and patterns that are packed inside the best books and stories. Mysteries, puzzles, twists and turns that surprise and delight us can help us to problem solve ourselves as we turn the pages of our own lives during these challenging times."

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind

We are inviting everyone to share their Take 10 challenge on social media by using the hashtag #Take10ToRead. The #Take10ToRead challenge is part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign, proudly supported by Arts Council England.

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