Sunderland Literacy Aid is a social enterprise (not-for-profit), based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. We support and encourage the local community to engage with our free individualised educational and therapeutic workshops, as well as to donate their unwanted educational resources with us, for reuse, rather than taking them to landfill. We are the only provider of free educational resources in the Sunderland area, as well as the only provider of bibliotherapy and expressive writing workshops.
We are passionate believers that words have the ability to heal and help address many issues. No matter what you might be going through, social exclusion, loneliness, depression, bereavement, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, isolation, early dementia, our workshops aim to help you deal and overcome any of these complex mental and emotional conditions.
We act as a platform for people from different backgrounds and parts of the city to connect with each other. Our work brings them together in safe spaces to exchange a range of feelings, thoughts and concerns that they find difficult to cope with. Our projects aim to equip older people and their carers, with the knowledge and tools they need in order to develop a set of skills that will give them the ability to manage their mental and emotional wellbeing by themselves in a therapeutic way, through the art of expressive writing and bibliotherapy. This modality of self-care helps people to break from medication and endless outside intervention. Our main projects actively teach participants how writing and therapeutic storytelling in small groups can be used to alleviate, and in time overcome a precarious mental health condition and combat loneliness and social exclusion. During these workshops participants are encouraged to talk about the things that they find difficult to cope with, things that they would not normally raise in the pattern of their everyday lives. It also provides them with an extensive network of our service users and volunteers, which brings about the much needed long-lasting friendships with people outside their immediate circles.
Working in partnership with other local organisations ensures that our work is effective, responsive and meets Sunderland’s real needs. We believe that taking coordinated action at a local level can support increased educational attainment and employability skills, and improve health outcomes and social capital. This will help the local community to improve the employability situation, to decrease the level of self-medication and the use of emergency services, to be better parents and family members, as well as better citizens and to participate in the political life of the local community.
We welcome donations in books of any genre and for all ages, new or second hand ones, as well as other educational resources. We want them saved from landfill in order to redistribute within the community where and as needed. We donate them with local schools, nurseries, libraries, community centres, families struggling to make ends meet, refugees, asylum seekers, as well as residents of orphanages, adoption centres, care homes and correctional facilities.