News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 15 December 2017

Welcome to the latest Reading Neighbourhood Network newsletter, where you will find all the latest news and events from our members. All our news and much more can be found on our website at

News articles
  • Public Space Protection Order Consultation

    7 December 2017

    The Anti-Social Behaviour, Police and Crime Act 2014 introduced new powers on the 20 October 2014 for dealing with local neighbourhood issues. Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) were introduced as one of the tools and are designed to improve public safety in a defined area.

    PSPOs have replaced powers to make Gating Orders, Designated Public Place Orders and Dog Control Orders. The current orders automatically converted into PSPOs in October 2017.

    However, in the context of the changing nature of anti-social behaviour in the public realm of Reading, it is appropriate to both review the necessity of the current provisions and assess the need to introduce new PSPOs to tackle a wider variety of anti-social behaviour in Reading.

    The decision has been taken to consult on proposals to discharge the current orders and replace with a new PSPO, with conditions included to tackle additional issues including Begging, Drug taking in a public place, Public Urination and Defecation, Motorbike Nuisance, etc.

    The consultation was opened on the 1 December 2017 close on the 22 January 2018. The consultation survey is available online at


  • Council Tax Support Scheme Consultation

    6 December 2017

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    Reading Borough Council continues to face the challenge of the most difficult budget position in its history. Demand for key Council services – like caring for vulnerable adults and children – is rising at a time of unprecedented and sustained cuts in funding for Local Government nationally.

    In Reading, Government funding will have been cut from £58 million between 2010 and 2020, leaving the Council with a Government grant of under £2 million. The ongoing budget gap means the Council is continuing to have to make difficult decisions in every service area.

    RBC are now considering changes to their Council Tax Support Scheme for 2018 to identify further savings where they can. This is just one of many options the Council will have to make decisions about. The Council will make a final decision at the end of February 2018.

    Have your say and help RBC shape any potential changes to the scheme by completing the consultation questionnaire online at

  • Reading Borough’s new Local Plan – Third Consultation

    30 November 2017

    Reading Borough Council will launch the third and last part of a consultation into its Local Plan on Thursday, November 30. Once adopted, the Local Plan will be the main document that informs how planning applications are determined and covers a wide variety of strategic matters, policies and specific sites for development around the borough up to 2036.

    It looks at how the authority will deal with the demands for development, including building more than 650 homes a year. It also sets out the need to work with Reading’s neighbours in Wokingham, West Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to try to meet the need as the borough itself doesn’t have the space. The draft of the plan has evolved after two previous consultations over the last two years, and more than 350 people have responded.

    After the third consultation ends, the final plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for communities and local government, and an independent inspector will examine it in the spring.

    The consultation is set to last for eight weeks, ending on 26 January 2018, and can be found at

    Original article courtesy of Getreading.

  • Help us understand more about loneliness: participate in our Focus Groups

    29 November 2017

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    RVA are running a series of focus groups to understand more about how loneliness affects people in Reading. RVA are interested in hearing from a wide range of people and understand from research they have carried out that certain situations make it more likely that someone may be affected by loneliness.

    In order to ensure discussion is focused, please sign up to one that is most relevant to your situation.
    -Mental health (11 Jan 11:00-12:30)
    -Disability (16 Jan 14:00-15:30, 20 Feb 10:00-11:30)
    -Open to all (25 Jan 15:00-16:30, 22 Feb 14:00-15:30)
    -Long term Health conditions (29 Jan 14:00-15:30, 6 Feb 11:00-12:30)
    -New to Reading (1 Feb 17:30-19:00, 9 Feb 11:00-12:30, 15 Feb 14:00-15:30)

    If you know of a particular group in the community that it would be good to hear from together, please do let RVA know and they will look into arranging an additional focus group.

    Sign up to a focus group at

  • Community Safety Survey

    26 November 2017

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    The purpose of this survey is to ask residents their views about issues such as crime and disorder, litter, parking, and anti-social behaviour amongst other local issues, to help identify priorities across Reading. The Safer Neighbourhood Forums (formerly known as Neighbourhood Action Groups) are required to consult on priorities with a community safety focus every 2 years.

    This community safety survey is being carried out across Reading to inform our neighbourhood working and local safer neighbourhood forums to find out what issues residents consider to be their highest priority at present.

    Whilst we will consider all issues raised in this survey, these will be looked at in conjunction with the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) priorities for Reading and locally reported crime across the Borough alongside the British Crime Survey and prioriities identified by Thames Valley Police. Priorities will then be set accordingly.

    The survey opens from 6 November and closes on Friday 15 December. For more information and to take the survey online see

  • Are there any old lamp posts near you?

    25 November 2017

    Look at old pictures of street scenes in Reading and you will often see the familiar gas lamp on a silver painted cast iron column. In Reading these old columns were converted to electricity during the 20th century, and we are fortunate that some of them still survive today in the town’s older streets. The original gaslight columns were made by foundries in the town so are also an important part of our local history.

    Sadly the remaining cast iron lamp posts are now under threat, with the council planning to replace them as part of the conversion of all Reading’s street lighting to use LED technology and telling us that the old columns can no longer be maintained.

    A few of the old columns have already been converted to support the new LED lanterns, so we know that this is possible – and new swan neck lantern brackets are also relatively cheap – but unfortunately as things stand the rest are likely to be scrapped.

    If you want to preserve a valuable part of Reading’s heritage why not contact your councillors? There is also a website with more information at

  • Foster carers needed in Reading

    16 November 2017

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    Reading Borough Council has made an urgent call for more foster carers, to keep Reading children living locally. RBC is asking for more people from all walks of life to explore the possibility of foster caring, so that children currently in care can enjoy the support, guidance and stability of a family life while continuing to live in Reading.

    Finding more local carers is crucial, as all too often a shortage leads to a child being fostered outside of the area. This can disrupt their lives by cutting them off from their birth family, if they are still retaining ties, and lead to them having to change schools or nursery.

    You’ll need to be over 21 and have a spare bedroom, but your marital status and gender are irrelevant. You certainly aren’t required to own your own home and you can carry on working alongside fostering. It’s what you can offer a child that matters.

    Finding out more about fostering couldn’t be easier. Simply call RBC on 0118 469 3020, go to or email You can find out more and if you are still interested make an application.

  • Join the RVA team in a new role – School and Parent Engagement

    15 November 2017

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    Interested in joining RVA and becoming part of a small, supportive team, passionate about Reading and our communities?

    We are looking for a new team player to engage with parents, and support them to make the most of growing opportunities to return to education, training, employment or self-employment. The role will involve building strong relationships with parents, partners and stakeholders, supporting individuals to access support, organising creative and engaging events, and producing flyers and newsletters.

    This part-time post is funded by the Big Lottery and the European Social Fund as part of the Stronger Together partnership. For more information, see the listing on the RVA jobs page and the job description.

    To apply please complete and return the application form by 17:00 on 5 December 2017. Questions about the role can be emailed to


  • Get Berkshire Active Awards – get nominating!

    9 November 2017

    News from: Get Berkshire Active

    The 6th annual Get Berkshire Active Awards will take place on Friday 23 February 2018. The awards will recognise the people that have excelled in a sport or physical activity setting throughout the last year.

    If you know a person, organisation or school who deserves recognition for their dedication to sport and/or physical activity, make sure to nominate them.

    The 12 award categories this year are:
    -Sports Personality of the Year
    -Junior Sports Personality of the Year
    -Lifetime Achievement Award
    -Workplace of the Year
    -Health Project of the Year
    -Volunteer of the Year
    -Coach of the Year
    -Community Club of the Year
    -Youth Engagement Project of the Year
    -Active Primary School
    -Active Secondary School
    -Team Performance of the Year

    The award criteria can be seen at and nominations can be made at Nominations close 10:00 Friday 1 December 2017.

Upcoming events
  • Sun
    09:30 - 10:30St Michael’s Church

    Tilehurst, Reading RG30 4JX

    St Michael's Church annual Christingle service takes place on Sunday 17 December, is for all ages and the uniformed organisations take a special part. The proceeds for this service go to the Children’s Society.

  • Sun
    10:45 - 12:15The Reading Irish Centre

    96 Chatham Street, Reading RG1 7HT

    When we ask people what they like best about The Sunday Assembly, the answer always includes the lovely people and the singing, so for December’s Assembly, we’re going to do lots of songs, and you’re going to be lovely.

    Ahh! The cakes also always get mentioned so there will be cakes too, and poems and games, and some uplifting words to tie around the festive present that is The Sunday Assembly. Oh, and there will be kazoos, lots of kazoos.

    Sunday Assembly Reading is free to attend and runs entirely on donations. The Sunday Assembly is a secular congregation that celebrates life, meeting once a month at The Reading Irish Centre. The Sunday Assembly welcomes all ages and all backgrounds.

  • Mon
    19:30 - 20:30Caversham Court Gardens

    Church Road, Caversham, Reading RG4 7AD

    The Friends of Caversham Court Gardens invite you to their annual Carol Evening. The choir of St Peter’s Church will be leading the singing of traditional Christmas carols in Caversham Court. Members of the Salvation Army Band will add to the festive music.

    The floodlit gardens will be open from 18:15 and mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies will be on sale in the tea kiosk in aid of local charities. The church bells will ring out from 19:15.

    Wrap up warm, bring a torch to read the words and come along to sing in the festive season. By kind permission of the rector, the event will take place in St Peter’s church next door if the weather is wet.

    All welcome. Free entry but there will be a collection.

  • Sat
    17:00 - 18:30Reading Minster of St Mary the Virgin

    Chain Street, Reading RG1 2HX

    In aid of The Minster Sanctuary (providing refuge and refreshment to those in need) with Occasions Singers, Reading A440 Choir and Reading Male Voice Choir.

    Tickets on sale at £5 per ticket (under 16's free) from Cards for Good Causes in the Minster, Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00 (until 18 December) or you can email

  • Mon
    14:00 - 17:00Reading Voluntary Action

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

    The purpose of this session is to prepare a group of volunteer focus group facilitators to run focus groups so we can gain a greater understanding into how people experience loneliness. The information will help us work with local voluntary sector organisations to meet the needs of residents in Reading who are lonely and socially isolated.

    If you would like to take part as a volunteer focus group facilitator then the training is free. If you are interested in the training but do not want to help out with the focus groups, we can keep you on a waiting list and offer spaces that are available closer to the time.

    The training will cover
    -What is a focus group and what can it be used for?
    -Structure of focus groups
    -Types of questions
    -Creating an environment that encourages people to speak
    -Flexibility and structure – when to stick to plan and when to deviate
    -Set up and administration of your focus group

    The training is targeted at people who are used to working with groups and leading group activity and we will ask participants to demonstrate a level of experience before offering a place on the training.

    Please email to express interest in the workshop.

  • Thu
    17:30 - 19:30Battle Library

    420 Oxford Road, Reading RG30 1EE

    This is a new date for this event that had to be cancelled in December.

    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!

  • Sun
    13:00 – 16:30RISC Main Hall

    35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS

    Bring along your broken items and get help to repair them. The team of volunteers will be able to help repair a wide range of items including:
    -Mechanical items
    -Computers (hardware/software)
    -Tool sharpening

    Additionally, if you have something you are making or a craft project you are stuck with, why not bring it along and one of the repairers can give you a hand to get on the right track!

    Repair Cafe is a free event but donations are welcome to help keep it going. There’s also tea, coffee and homemade cake!

  • 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
    18:00 – 21:00Reading Voluntary Action

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

    Trustees play an essential role in our society, making our charity sector work. It’s a hugely rewarding role but it’s not always easy to get all the information you require to be sure you are carrying out your role as effectively as possible. This training will help give you an overview of what’s expected of trustees as well as providing a networking opportunity with your fellow trustees from the area.

    The areas covered will include:
    -Basic structure of a voluntary organisation
    -Trustee duties and liability
    -Trustee Roles
    -Choosing/understanding your organisation’s structure
    -Your constitution
    -Organisational policies

    The training is suitable for new and existing trustees and will also give a valuable introduction to anyone thinking of taking on the role.

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

    Click here to register - it's free!

  • Wed
    15:00 - 20:00Reading Town Hall

    Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH

    Reading’s BIG event to explore ways to alleviate loneliness and social isolation in our communities. The focus of the event will be on taking action to create change at both a personal and organisational level.

    The first half of the event will be for organisations across all sectors. The second half will be more targeted at members of the public, to enter into the conversation alongside local organisations.

    • 15:00-17:00 – How organisations can work better together to address shared issues around loneliness
    • 17:00-17:45 – Market Place, Networking and Refreshments
    • 17:45-19:30 – Let’s Make Reading Friendlier – Public Event
    • 19:30-20:00 – Networking and Market Place

    The full programme will be made available in the coming weeks, but please save the date and register to book your place here.

    If you are representing an organisation and would like to attend the whole event, please register here for attendance from 15:00.

    If you want to attend as an individual or just want to attend the evening session, please register here for attendance from 17:00.

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