Newsletter (original version)

  • Reading Town Meal 2020- September Update

    26 September 2020

    Who’s getting excited? Not long to go now until this year’s town meal. We are pleased to announce that RG2 radio will be broadcasting the event live from Reading College for everyone to tune into at 12:00-14:30 Saturday 3 October. Don’t forget to sign up at if you haven’t already to receive a town meal recipe card and activity packs delivered to your doorstep.

    How can I get involved?
    -Tune into the live RG2 radio broadcast at 12:00-14:30 on Saturday 3 October
    -Make your own household town meal using our recipe suggestions
    -Complete the registration form to a receive a town meal recipe card and activity pack delivered direct to your doorstep
    -Sign up to the online workshops via the website or Eventbrite
    -Watch the recorded cook-alongs via the YouTube channel
    -Have a go at the town meal quiz and crossword

    What’s happening at Forbury Gardens?
    Visit the stall in Forbury where any surplus fruit and vegetables will be available for collection (until it runs out) on the following dates:
    -Sunday 27 September 11:00-16:00
    -Friday 2 October 11:00-16:00
    -Saturday 3 October 11:00-16:00

    For more information about the Reading Town Meal visit, phone on 01189 586692 or visit the Facebook page for the latest event announcements.

    Continue reading →

  • Building Berkshire Together – have your say on creating a new hospital

    4 September 2020Building Berkshire Together – have your say on creating a new hospital

    News from: Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

    The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is beginning a major modernisation of its services and buildings involving the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds over the course of the next ten years. They want to work with local residents to create a new hospital, fit for the 21st century. They are calling this new project Building Berkshire Together:

    Our dual objectives are to develop and deliver outstanding NHS services in a manner fit for the 21st century and to play a greater part in the growth and development of our local economy.

    We started to develop our long term thinking on this some time ago and we are now able to make rapid progress because the Department of Health and Social Care recently published a Health Infrastructure Plan that provides the funding for 40 new hospitals building projects over the next 10 years.

    We have been chosen as one of the NHS Trusts to receive funding to develop plans for a new hospital. It could be a completely new hospital, or it could be a combination of new building and refurbishment. We will submit our initial thinking to the government later this year.

    And now… we need to know what you think and what you want from your local hospital. Over the coming months we will be seeking the views of many local people but if you would like to know more about how we are Building Berkshire Together please visit our website and tell us what you think by completing our survey.

    Take part in the survey: Go the the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust website ( and click ‘Building Berkshire Together’ on the left-hand side.

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  • Growing Careers & Growing Healthy Conversations – New Courses starting this autumn

    4 September 2020

    Food4families are running the following new courses this autumn:

    Growing Careers: Free, practical and hands on 6 week introductory course into what you could be doing if you got a job in horticulture.

    -Course 1: Monday 5 October 11:00 to 13:00 based in Central Reading
    -Course 2: Friday 9 October 13:00 to 15:00 based in South Reading
    -Covering soil health, propagation, plant care, lawn maintenance, landscaping and garden design.
    -2 hour sessions; outside; based in local Reading community gardens.
    -All equipment provided and travel refunded.

    Growing Healthy Conversations: Practise your conversational English whilst you grow fresh fruit and vegetables at our local community gardens. Free 10 week course

    Course 1 – Timing: Tuesdays 13:00 to 15:00 starting on 22 September
    Location: Lavender Place Community Garden, Queens Walk, Central Reading (next to The Hexagon), RG1 7AE

    Course 2 -Timing:Thursday 13:00 to 15:00 starting 24 September
    Location: Erleigh Road Community Garden, rear of St Luke’s Parish Church Hall, Erleigh Road, East Reading, RG2 0BW

    Small groups, supported by tutors socially distanced, outside. All equipment, tools, seeds etc provided. Travel costs can be refunded.

    For more information on the above courses and to book your place contact Sharon Fitton, by email at or ring 01189 586692 and leave contact details.

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  • BCF coronavirus funding for small organisations

    3 September 2020

    Berkshire Community Foundation is offering small-scale funding for local groups addressing the following issues:

    -Food Banks and tackling food poverty;
    -Domestic violence and abuse;
    -Homelessness or rough sleeping;
    -Providing employment opportunities, enterprise or skills development.

    BCF would like to support 10 groups for £2,000 each, with a mix across the different service areas. Some core funding would be considered.

    Groups will need to apply by 11 September by completing the BCF Expression of Interest form found at and stating ‘BCF Coronavirus Fund’ at the start of the Description of Project text box.

    BCF aims to get the funds to successful groups by the beginning of October. Taking into consideration that projects may not be completed by year end, the funder would like a simple interim report detailing how the project is progressing – they would like to promote successful groups in the lead up to Christmas. In the new year (around March), a final monitoring report would be required.

    The fund is aimed at any local group that satisfies their criteria, including smaller groups and those supporting specific communities.

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  • Reading Community Learning Centre reopening

    28 August 2020Reading Community Learning Centre reopening

    Reading Community Learning Centre is delighted to be reopening from Monday 14 September.

    If you are interested in joining our programme, please call Petra Robinson for more information and to book an appointment on 07923 138681. We offer courses mainly for women including:

    -English conversation

    -Reading and Writing


    -IT for Beginners

    -Looking good, feeling good

    -English for Work

    For more information please visit the website at

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  • School Streets scheme proposed

    28 August 2020School Streets scheme proposed

    School Streets could soon be coming to Reading as part of a new council initiative to help children return to the classroom safely in September.

    With thousands of pupils shortly to resume journeys for the start of the new academic year, Reading Borough Council is inviting schools and colleges across the borough to apply to create a School Street outside their buildings.

    A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at busy school drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to all school traffic and all through traffic. The result is a safer, healthier and more pleasant environment for everyone. School Streets also provide more space for parents and pupils to adhere to social distancing measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Schools interested in implementing a School Street can download information and an application pack from

    Reading’s School Street initiative is funded through a successful recent bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) who awarded the council £150,000 to support activities to encourage sustainable school trips and enable schools and colleges to re-open safely in September.

    The funding pot would also be used to develop an interactive map and web portal where all information on sustainable transport options for each individual school or college could be found in an easy user friendly environment.

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  • Looking for rewarding work? RVA has opened recruitment for four new posts

    27 August 2020

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    RVA has opened recruitment for four new posts that may be of interest

    Inclusion Development Worker – closing date 21 September
    Help us further the following aims:
    -To ensure RVA is an inclusive charity that reflects the diversity of Reading in the shaping of our staff team, volunteers, trustees and how we work.
    -To support local charities and community groups to review their own inclusion policies and develop inclusion plans.

    We encourage applications from individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, who are currently underrepresented within RVA. This is a part-time role and RVA is open to considering flexible working requests. Please ask us for more information at the interview stage.

    3 Social Prescribing Link Workers – closing date 14 September 2020
    In partnership with local GP practices:

    -To empower people to take control of their health and wellbeing through social prescribing by giving them time to focus on what matters to them by taking a holistic approach, connecting people to community groups and charities for practical and emotional support.
    -The Social Prescribing Link Worker will work as a key part of the primary care team helping to strengthen community and personal resilience and reduce health and wellbeing inequalities by addressing the wider determinants of health, such as debt, poor housing and physical activity.

    We encourage applications from individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, who are currently underrepresented within RVA.

    All four posts are for an initial 6-month period with the potential to extend. Please see the job adverts, job descriptions and person specifications for more information.

    Continue reading →

  • The Parent Employment Wellbeing project

    25 August 2020The Parent Employment Wellbeing project

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    Reading Voluntary Action is pleased to announce a new project to be delivered by our Schools and Parent Engagement Officer, Anna Chapman. Anna works with partners across sectors to maximise the opportunities available for parents, acting as the link between parents, schools and organisations.

    The new Parent Employment Wellbeing project (PEW) is for parents over the age of 16, not in employment, not furloughed and living in Reading. PEW offers free, clear, non-judgemental and confidential information, advice, guidance and support – tailored to individuals and their situation. Anna can help parents to:

    -Discuss their needs and aspirations for work
    -Identify any challenges and barriers to their wellbeing and achievement
    -Explore their options and opportunities
    -Know about the services and support available to them in Reading
    -Progress towards and into training, courses, voluntary work and employment

    The project is funded by the European Social Fund and the Education Skills Funding Agency.

    Further information
    -To find out more, please contact Anna by emailing
    Find the project on Facebook.
    -Read more about Anna’s work in our Meet the RVA Team profile.

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  • Citizens Advice Reading are offering free energy advice appointments over the telephone

    23 August 2020Citizens Advice Reading are offering free energy advice appointments over the telephone

    News from: Citizens Advice Reading

    Winter is just around the corner – call us now for help! Do you, or anyone you know need help saving money on your electricity, gas and water bills? Are you or someone you know having problems with the following?

    -Disputes or problems with utility companies
    -Struggling to keep a prepayment meter topped up
    -Need practical help with switching to a cheaper supplier
    -Struggling to keep your home warm and dry

    Citizens Advice Reading has a specially trained Energy Adviser offering free 30-minute telephone appointments to anyone who needs help with utility bills or staying warm.

    Please phone or book online and our adviser will call you back to arrange a telephone appointment:
    -Phone: 03003 302182 or 03444 111444
    -Textphone: 03444 111445

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  • Help with using Zoom or adapting your services

    12 August 2020

    News from Reading Voluntary Action

    Lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease but as a cautionary way forward many charities and community groups are continuing to offer remote or virtual services as a way of reducing risk. If your community group or charity is looking for guidance on adapting services online, take a look at the slides from a session we held on 25 June, which included:

    1. Speaker: Ruth Pearse, CEO of Parenting Special Children, on how the charity adapted its services to provide these online and the thinking that went on behind this in the team and at Board level.

    2. Speaker: David Neale from Reading Voluntary Action on top tips in using Zoom. David manages the Get Online project in Reading. This included a step-by-step guide for Zoom. 

    Adapting your services online slides from 25 June 2020

    Free online Zoom tutorial here.

    (Please note that the government updates referred to at the start of these slides may have been updated since the presentation. Please continue to check our news page or contact if you would like any clarifications). 

    Continue reading →

Upcoming events

  • Mon
    19:00 - 20:00Online Event

    An environmental critique of the draft Reading Transport Strategy and its approach to carbon, congestion and clean air.

    "Making the polluters pay" can reduce traffic and fund improved and cheaper bus services and new cycling infrastructure.

    Workshop Speaker: John Booth

    Please sign up to this online event at to gain access to the Zoom webinar link.

  • Tue
    19:30 - 20:30Zoom webinar - Reading Climate Action Network

    Consultation has finished, the Plan is finalised, and now we need to implement it. After a brief introduction to the overall goals from our Chair, some of our theme leads will look at some of the community actions in more detail and be ready to answer your questions.

    We'll cover the new Reading hydro scheme, reducing consumption of "stuff" and providing a better town meal to the non-human Reading residents!

    Workshop speaker: Trish Marcouse

    Please sign up to this online event at to gain access to the Zoom webinar link.

  • Thu
    19:00- 20:00Online Event - University of Reading

    Discover the causes and impact of food loss and food waste, the effect of common retail practices on food loss and reflect on your personal contribution to the problem. Explore the potential of the waste hierarchy and the circular economy providing a framework for solutions to this issue.

    Through this interactive workshop, discover innovations such as upcycled food and hear from companies that are making a difference. Gain practical ideas on reducing food waste at home and how to be an agent of change on a personal, community, and national level.

    Workshop speaker: Simona Grasso

    Please sign up to this online event at to gain access to the Zoom webinar link.

  • Fri
    19:00 - 20:00Online Event - Global Justice Reading

    The proposed trade deal with the US is not just about a few iconic products. US food standards are radically different to Britain’s; US agriculture is dominated by massive corporations with intensive use of antibiotics, hormones and steroids.

    Why do we need this trade deal? We already trade with the US and experts say that this would have very little impact on our economy. The most optimistic estimates predict it could bring a fraction of a percent growth after 15 years!

    We could still stop this dangerous deal going ahead but what can we do? Join this session to find out.

    Workshop Speaker: Jackie Oversby

    Please sign up to this online event at to gain access to the Zoom webinar link.

  • Sat
    11:00 - 16:00Online

    If you love food, enjoy spending time with family and want to learn about how you can eat more sustainably, then you will definitely want to join us for this year’s Reading annual celebration of locally grown and healthy food on Saturday 3 October. You can sign up now.

    We can enjoy the day together (albeit from our own households) with recipe cards, online workshops, Kahoot quizzes and much, much more. We are even hoping to broadcast live from Forbury Gardens on the day to help connect us all.

    Not only will we deliver exclusive town meal inspired recipe cards direct to your doorstep, there will also be a live cook-along to follow and surplus fruit and vegetables made available from our stall in Forbury for you to collect, take home and add to your town meal inspired recipes.

    Our online workshops will feature topics including how to tackle food waste, sustainable food growing methods and climate change.

    If you would like to help and support the running of this year’s socially distanced town meal there are volunteer roles to suit everyone’s skill set, ranging from donating fruit and vegetables, delivering recipe cards to households, helping us to publicise the event and much more.

    For more information about the Reading Town Meal visit the website or Facebook page, call 0118 958 6692 or visit our Facebook page for the latest event announcements.

  • Sat
    15:00 - 16:00Online Event

    A presentation and discussion with members of Compassion in World Farming, the leading farm animal welfare charity.

    This talk is for you if you are not ready to go vegan but care about animal welfare, environmental destruction, the climate crisis and your health.

    • Learn how the choices you make effect all of these and how you can make better ones.
    • Share your views and pick up some ideas.
    • Find out what the strange and confusing words and logos on food labels actually mean.

    We promise not to bully you or show horrible pictures of animals in pain, so don’t be afraid to join us. Suitable for adults and children of all ages.

    Please register at to gain access to the Zoom webinar link.

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