Newsletter (original version)

  • Do you know anyone that needs help to get online? Free drop-in sessions available

    21 September 2017

    Although we are in an age where it seems that everyone is using new technology, there are still plenty of people out there that have been left behind, with national surveys showing that 15-20% of the UK’s adult population lack basic computer skills. In Reading, known as a high-tech town, the figure is towards the lower end of this range – but in some areas the general level of IT literacy is actually below the national average. For example, in a survey conducted by a housing association of its tenants it was found that nearly half of them do not use the internet.

    The Get Online Reading project was started in 2015 to help narrow the digital divide in the town, and continues to this day. We offer free drop-in sessions around Reading where visitors can get help from our volunteers with using a computer, tablet or smartphone. Whatever you need help with – email, web searching, computer security, and much more – we can show you how to get started and get more out of the internet.

    Our regular weekly sessions are on the first floor of Reading Central Library (Tuesdays & Thursdays 14:00-16:00 and Saturdays 10:00-12:00) and Battle Library (Fridays 10:00-12:00). Details and a full listing of our free drop-in sessions, including a printable calendar, can be found at

  • Heritage Open Days in Reading: 7-10 September

    7 September 2017

    The UK’s annual Heritage Open Days are back, and there are lots of opportunities to explore Reading’s past – historic buildings holding open days and events, guided walks, arts and cultural events, exhibitions and more.

    There are 47 events in this year’s programme, including lace making demonstrations at the Museum of English Rural Life, a postcard making workshop for families at the Malmaison hotel, walks around Reading’s conservation areas and exploring Reading’s industrial past, and the opportunity to see RISC’s hidden roof garden. Many of the events are free of charge.

    If you would like to take the opportunity to explore Reading’s history please visit the Heritage Open Days website for details – a listing of events in Reading can be found at

  • Police Property Act Fund open for applications

    7 September 2017

    The Fund is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.

    Last year over £140,000 was distributed to 40 different organisations to reduce re-offending and prevent cybercrime and the PCC and Chief Constable expect to allocate around £100,000 in this grant round.

    Applications are now invited from local voluntary and community groups who can contribute towards a key aim in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan priorities, which are:
    -Prevention and Early Intervention
    -Reducing Re-Offending
    -Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism

    The closing date for this round of applications is 17:00 on Thursday 21 September 2017 and applications will be considered jointly by the PCC and the Chief Constable. Find more details and the application form on the PCC website at

  • Take part in Reading Libraries Fun Palace

    31 August 2017

    News from: Reading Borough Council – Central Library

    We are looking for local groups and organisations to take part and share their skills and interests in our first Fun Palace on Saturday 7 October. Events will be happening across each of our libraries and we are looking for groups to help us make it a success and put on lots of fun free activities across the borough.

    The Fun Palace manifesto: we believe in the genius in everyone, in everyone an artist and everyone a scientist, and that creativity in community can change the world for the better. Fun Palaces are made by local people for their own communities – details at

    If you have an a skill or interest you would like to share with the local community, please get in contact with your local library or call 0118 937 5950. We are looking for a wide range of events, everything from arts and sciences, crafts, tech and digital.

  • Get ready for the 2017 Aviva Fund

    25 August 2017

    The Aviva Community Fund offers you the chance to get funding from £1,000 up to £25,000 for an important cause in your community. All you have to do is enter a project for your community organisation and tell us what a difference these much-needed funds could make. Previous applicants are welcome to apply.

    Whether you’re looking to solve a problem or speed up an ongoing project, this is your chance to make a real difference to your local community. And it all starts with your great idea…

    You can enter your project in one of the four following categories:
    1. Health and wellbeing – Projects related to helping people take control of their physical and mental health.
    2. Skills for life – Projects that aim to help communities and individuals improve their lives by learning useful new skills, particularly digital ones. Projects in this category can help people of all ages develop skills to make their lives easier or more fulfilling.
    3. Inclusivity – Successful communities value all people, recognising that every person adds something to the whole. Projects in this category will understand that and work to develop closer ties within the community.
    4. Community support – From regeneration projects to local support groups, this category offers support for anything that is important to your wider community, including community events.

    For more information and to apply go to

  • RNN survey – many thanks!

    14 August 2017

    Many thanks to everyone that completed our recent survey. We had a great response, and it’s really good to know that there are still plenty of active groups of neighbours around Reading and people getting involved in their communities.

    Our next step is to spend some time analysing the responses to the survey. The holiday season’s here, so please be patient with us – we expect to review the results at the beginning of September and will be in touch shortly after that.

    Our particular thanks to everyone that expressed an interest in getting involved in Reading Neighbourhood Network and helping us engage better with communities. We will be contacting you individually during September, and hope to be seeing you soon.

    If you haven’t yet expressed an interest in getting involved in reshaping RNN but would like to, please feel free to get in touch at any time by sending an email to

    We look forward to seeing you in September!

  • Reading-on-Thames Festival launches

    12 August 2017

    News from: Reading UK CIC

    Reading UK CIC is delighted to announce that the inaugural Reading-on-Thames Festival will take place between 9 and 17 September 2017.

    This new arts and cultural festival aims to put Reading’s waterways back at the heart of the town as the backdrop and inspiration for an inspiring eight-day arts programme from national and local cultural groups.

    International outdoor arts super stars, Walk The Plank, will bring their creative floating genius to Reading for the first time with a spectacular finale, River Stories, on the Thames on Saturday 16 September. They will be creating a special pyro-tech theatrical event which will use as its inspiration the rich tapestry of stories of the River Thames and its cultural and historical significance to the town.

    The Reading-on-Thames Festival programme will also include Playground Victories in Broad Street 9-10 September, What’s the point of rivers, anyway? 11–17 September, Abbey on Wheels will be popping up at Caversham Court Gardens to tell the history of the Abbey Quarter and conservation of Reading Abbey on 16 September and many more.

    The Reading-on-Thames Festival is being produced by Zsuzsi Lindsay on behalf of Reading UK CIC, full programme at

  • East Reading Festival 2018: get involved!

    10 August 2017

    News from: East Reading Festival

    We want to make our 10th annual East Reading Festival bigger and better than ever! All East Reading communities and residents are invited for this free event on Sunday 17 June 2018 in Palmer Park. Save the date and watch this space for further information.

    The first meeting of our new committee will be on Tuesday 3 October 2017, 20:00 at 10 Duke Street, Reading RG1 4RU.

    We are going to need volunteers needed to help organise elements of this festival – please contact Matthew Foster by email at if you are interested.

  • Funding opportunity – Active Communities now open!

    9 August 2017

    Local groups and organisations with great ideas to make their communities even better places to live are now invited to apply for funding to turn their ideas into reality.

    Active Communities is a funding programme for community groups and not-for-profit organisations, with an income of less than £350,000 a year or an average of £350,000 over two years.

    The HealthConfirm programme is open for applications in Wokingham, West Berkshire, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Bracknell Forest. The deadline for applications is 6 September at 13:00.

    Find out more about the two stage process and download the online application form from the website at

  • Free food for charities!

    27 July 2017

    FareShare is a charity aimed at relieving food poverty and reducing food waste in the UK. It does this by rescuing good-quality surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste and sending it to over 2000 charity and community groups across the United Kingdom.

    They work with all sectors of the supply chain – producers, manufacturers and retailers – and will only redistribute food inside its best before and use by date.

    FareShare are currently matching up the three Aldi stores in Reading with groups that could benefit.

    If you are interested please contact Michael Kind by email at

Upcoming events

  • Sat
    11:00 - 18:00Town Hall Square and the Market Place

    Reading RG1 2DQ

    Reading's first Vegan Festival is a celebration of all things vegan and cruelty free. It's an opportunity for anyone who wants to find out more, to try food, hear inspirational and informative speakers, find out what a range of local and national charities do and find out more about the range of ethical and cruelty free products that are out there.

    The event to be free so it's as accessible for everyone as possible, whether you're already vegan, curious about veganism or had never given it a thought in your life before!

    We hope to have over 50 stall holders selling vegan and cruelty free food, clothing, cosmetics and other services. There will be a line up of talks and workshops to discuss issues, provide information and inspire a whole community of vegans and future vegans.

  • Mon
    10:00 - 14:00Walford Hall

    Carey Street, Reading RG1 7JS

    Come and join Reading Association for the Blind (RAB) to have a look at their IT suite and the training they offer to the visually impaired people of Reading.

    There will be demonstrations of the software used specifically for visually impaired people, such as Magnifier, NVDA, Dolphin, Supernova and Guide. This can be done on either a PC, laptop or tablet dependent on your requirements.

    The day is being run by Mike Ferriday and Emmanuel Rwiza who are both visually impaired volunteers and understand the challenges of using IT.

    RAB will be providing 30 minute time slots so you get the opportunity to have a one to one session with RAB's tutors, so they get to understand what issues you may be having and give you the chance to see what IT solutions are out there that may be useful for you. Should RAB run out of these slots arrangements can be made for you to come along another time.

    Tea and coffee will be served for the duration of the day. Please feel free to call RAB on 01189 572960 to book a convenient time slot.

  • Tue
    13:00 - 15:00Elevate Hub

    Third Floor, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading RG1 3BQ

    Join us for our regular Volunteer Coordinators’ Network meeting facilitated by Reading Voluntary Action.

    You will have a chance to contribute to the agenda ahead of time so that we can make sure your issue or concern can be given some attention, as well as having the opportunity to seek peer support in a confidential space from others in a similar role.

    The format is pretty informal RVA provides the tea and coffee. Feel free to bring your sandwich and eat with us if it helps your day along. You don’t need to stay for the whole event – we know everyone’s busy.

    Free registration at

  • Tue
    17:30 - 19:30Caversham Library

    Church Street, Reading RG4 8AU

    Loneliness is a national problem, considered to be at epidemic levels. Reading is no exception, but it needn’t be that way. Join us for an introductory workshop to find out more about how you can become a Champion to End Loneliness for Reading.

    Anyone can be a champion, supporting the cause of ending loneliness through a wide range of ways. As a champion, you will have the opportunity to:
    -Learn: from the very latest research and examples of good practice
    -Campaign: for change and encourage more people to take a role in ending loneliness in Reading
    -Connect: with like-minded people to share ideas and identify ways to work through challenges
    -Act: Become a befriender or get support to set up an initiative in your community

    The workshop is about enabling and informing you to be able to take action to tackle loneliness in a way that suits you. The workshop will cover:
    -Info about loneliness from recent national and Reading-specific research
    -Introduction to what some local charities are doing to reduce loneliness
    -Discussions: what are you doing/what can you do to help?
    -Opportunity to sign up to our pledges

    The workshop is free, but please register at so we know how many people to expect.

    Click here to register - it's free!

  • Wed
    10:00 - 15:00South Street Arts Centre

    21 South Street, Reading RG1 4QU

    Small Green Shoots is a youth arts organisation that nurtures arts and music ideas into vibrant growing projects. An innovative music-based consultancy that develops and delivers high profile music projects for creatives, corporates and community.

    The development day will give you the opportunity to meet with local organisations, artists and project partners to support any ideas or meet any creative needs your young people or organisation might have.

    There will be an Arts Council and PRS Foundation funding officer on hand to promote their relevant opportunities, a live artist performance and Small Green Shoots will provide a lovely lunch.

  • Fri
    09:30 - 12:00Reading Deaf Centre

    131-133 Cardiff Road, Reading RG1 8JF

    Come along to the Macmillan coffee morning on Friday 29 September. You can also find out all about Reading Deaf Centre and its activities.

    Everyone is welcome – please feel free to drop in at any time during the morning.

  • Sat
    12:00 - 16:00Forbury Gardens

    Abbots Walk, Reading RG1 3EJ

    Hundreds of alloment holders and home-growers, along with voluntary groups and local producers will contribute to the meal which will be cooked by Reading College Hospitality and Catering students and served free to over 1,000 local people. The aim is to promote sustainable food production, educating people about the provenance and environmental impacts of food production.

    Forbury Gardens will be filled with fun activities, workshops and local food producers. Community groups will set out their stalls and music from local bands will keep the tempo going all afternoon.

    Find out more at

  • Tue
    18:00 - 20:00Reading Voluntary Action

    Third Floor, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading RG1 3BQ

    RVA are hosting a further Buildings Forum for Reading-based community and voluntary groups.

    Community buildings are valuable places for local people to meet, do things together and receive services. Many groups are facing the impact of tighter budgets. RVA are therefore hosting a session to explore how your group can continue to flourish and maintain a community presence through sharing buildings. It is also an opportunity to meet other groups, share your experiences of works well and to receive resources and updates.

    There are many benefits of considering sharing a community building, such as ensuring Reading’s community and voluntary groups maintain a presence in the community, reduced running costs and enabling you to share the space with a like-minded charitable organisation/creating a community hub.

    This session is free but please register at to confirm your place. If you are unable to attend, please cancel within 5 working days to enable someone else to attend.

  • Fri
    10:30 - 12:30Reading Voluntary Action

    Third Floor, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading RG1 3BQ

    The Autumn Befriending forum is a chance for organisations who offer one-to-one social support for their beneficiaries to come together and discuss shared issues, find out about what is going on in the sector and request support where it is most needed.

    The current agenda will cover:
    -Update on Champions to End Loneliness Campaign
    -Individual beneficiary-focused volunteering opportunities
    -Sources of information and how people cross-refer within the sector
    -Data protection, management and sharing of information: best practice and requirements

    The event is free, but please register at to confirm your place.

  • Sat
    10:30 - 14:00Reading Civic Centre

    Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU

    We are very excited to tell you that Sport in Mind will be holding their annual sponsored walk on Saturday 7 October 2017. They will be raising money to help benefit people experiencing mental health problems in Berkshire, through running sport and physical activity sessions.

    There are 2 options for the walk:
    -A 5.5km walk to the Cunning Man where there will be refreshments and you will be able to get a bus back into Reading.
    -Or you can continue with the walk back to the Civic Centre which will be an 11km round trip.
    Estimated timings for the day are:

    Start: 10:30 Reading Civic Centre
    5.5km Finish: 12:00 the Cunning Man Pub
    11km Finish: 14:00 Reading Civic Centre

    To take part all you need to do is to email to register your interest. You will then be send information about how to donate your £5.00 registration fee and how to get started raising your sponsorship, no amount is too small!

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