Off the Record is a charity which provides free mental health support and information to 11-25 year olds in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. As well as providing 1:1 counselling, they provide a wide range of services, projects and groups around the local area. They are dedicated to promoting and improving mental health and wellbeing amongst young people.
Every month, Off the Record run a Book Club for 16-25 year olds. Give a Book provides free books for each member to keep and discuss. The Book Club is a safe place for young people to gather and meet like-minded book-lovers, as well as read titles they may not have previously considered.
Like most meetings in 2020, the Off the Record Mental Health Book Club went online. More important than ever during lockdown, the OTR Book Club is a safe place for young people to gather and meet like-minded book-lovers, as well as read titles they may not have previously considered. The group vote online to decide which book they want to read, and always come up with interesting choices! They have an excellent blog on all their recent reads, which you can find here.
Testimonials from the group:
The book club has been such a great experience. It has meant that I’ve been able to read some amazing books. Many of which I may not have discovered or even picked up had they not been part of the book club. Even more than this, the book club has meant that I have been able to meet and connect with amazingly lovely people. The discussions we have in the book club are always really enjoyable. It’s great to share ideas and hear other perspectives on the books we read. – Lily
I really enjoy the book club! I’m reading books I’d have never picked out for myself, and even the books I’ve hated (though there’s not been many!) have been oddly satisfying. But more than anything else, I don’t think I’d go back as often as I have if I didn’t genuinely enjoy going and chatting about the books! Everyone is so much fun. And far from feeling like something awkward we’re being forced into on the promise of free books. It’s definitely felt like meeting up with friends. – Vicky