Our news is collected from our network of members, and is updated regularly. We also present information and articles from other sources that might be relevant to your kind of group.
Reading’s Library Service has made the important first step towards the welcome return of its popular service, with the safety of the public and staff at the forefront of all reopening plans. To begin with, the service will be operating at a reduced level to accommodate safety measures. The Council is urging people to only come to the library if they have booked an appointment in advance.
Despite lockdown completely transforming children’s schooling, local charity ABC to Read have announced outstanding results in their most recent annual report, with 98% of the local Berkshire children who benefit from a one-to-one ABC to Read mentor improving in their reading confidence. The report also highlights that 98% of the youngsters working with them have improved in their attitudes towards reading and 95% have enhanced their accuracy and comprehension.
Most children have been away from school for many weeks and parents are running out of things for them to do. For many disadvantaged families in Reading this has been particularly stressful and it isn’t likely to improve soon. In normal years Reading Family Aid organise summer outings, but that hasn’t been possible this year, so they wanted to do something else to help families who are struggling more than most. The result is their first ever Summer Toy Project.
RBC Adult Care and Health Services have produced an information pack on useful information around staying safe during the pandemic. This may be useful for charities and community groups too. It includes guidance on Test and trace, Staying well: mental health and well-being; support for families and carers, Staying safe: safeguarding, domestic abuse, scams, and Easy-read versions on topics such as wearing a face mask and support bubbles.
Microsoft has launched an initiative to provide free training to provide 25 million people with the digital skills required in the Covid-19 economy. The worldwide project provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab. Training is offered in 10 areas, ranging from software developer to digital marketer or graphic designer to financial analyst. In addition, Microsoft is offering courses in soft skills, such as critical thinking and persuading others, and collaboration.
The Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire Hospital today put out a message to patients to reassure them it’s safe to attend for appointments and vital to keep the dates set for any planned surgery. The move comes after clinicians at the hospital reported low numbers of people turning up for allotted clinic slots or operations that were put on hold during Covid-19.
Reading Voluntary Action is pleased to announce this new funding for small community groups in Reading, who are embedded in and providing grass roots support to their communities. We have received £10,000 from Berkshire Community Foundation to distribute in this way and qualifying groups can apply for up to £2,000 each.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the government’s plan to continue to ease the restrictions around social distancing. If you are planning on re-opening your services then please ensure you complete a full risk assessment and consider the implications on all involved with the organisations, and in particular those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.
Berkshire is home to just over 911,000 people. Access to safe, healthy environments in which we live, learn, work and play can powerfully affect lifelong wellbeing. But we know that in Berkshire not everyone can participate equally and Vital Signs has reported growing concern about child poverty, pressure on carers, mental health and homelessness. In 2020 we have the additional challenge of Covid-19.
Over the past 10 years, Food4Families has created over 25 school and community food-growing gardens in Reading, involving thousands of people in growing fresh, healthy produce. As a result of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Food4Families has identified a need to increase local food growing to provide fresh food to vulnerable people in the community. Food4Families is looking for volunteers to make a difference by growing and distributing fresh produce.