City Lit Blog

Guardian interview with City Lit Fellow Baroness Sheila Hollins, Founder and Chair of Beyond Words.

Story added 6th Jun 2019

Nigel at one of the Beyond Words Book Clubs at City Lit


‘People with learning disabilities must be put at the centre of their care’

Earlier this week Guardian journalist Saba Salman interviewed City Lit Fellow Baroness Sheila Hollins, one of the UK’s foremost authorities on learning disability and mental health. She is the Founder and Chair of Beyond Words, a not-for-profit organisation that produces picture books to help people with communication issues.

Baroness Sheila Hollins spoke about how she used pictures to communicate with her learning-disabled son Nigel – an experience that led to a pioneering organisation. Thirty years on, Beyond Words has distributed or sold 100,000 copies of its 57 titles, which cover everything from relationships to surviving abuse. Each title involved 100 learning disabled people as advisers or authors. There are 60 associated book clubs with 350-400 members.

One of the first City Lit Fellowships was awarded in 2015 to Baroness Sheila Hollins for her outstanding contribution to education for adults with learning disabilities in the UK. The growing partnership between Beyond Words and City Lit – through our annual Mental Wealth Festival as well as supporting our courses for people with learning difficulties – has provided a huge inspiration for our teachers and students involved.

Over the years, City Lit has played host to Beyond Words book launches and book clubs and is now home to the Beyond Words team, too! Together, we’re looking forward to many more exciting years of innovation and collaboration.

> Read the Guardian article here...

Baroness Sheila Hollins