Newsletter (original version)

  • Help the council improve Reading’s Public Rights of Way

    19 July 2021Help the council improve Reading's Public Rights of Way

    Reading Borough Council is encouraging residents to have their say on how they currently use Reading’s Public Rights of Way Network, in a bid to provide a better experience for its users and encourage active travel.

    The council manages 21 miles of public Rights of Way across the borough, which provide vital connections for many people to access open space and are often used by residents when travelling to work and school. It is important that we protect, maintain and enhance Rights of Way across the Borough. This network supports our ambitions to encourage active travel (e.g. cycling and walking) and as a result support better physical and mental health, lower carbon generation and improved air quality.

    Over the last year, these local routes have been used so much more during the lockdown periods, where people explored their local areas. Increased walking around our local areas has been beneficial to our health and mental wellbeing and has also helped towards improving air quality within the borough.

    Residents are invited to have their say on how you currently use Reading’s Public Rights of Way Network, to highlight any barriers or issues to increased use of the network, and suggest what could be done to enhance the network – for example, make it more accessible to all users, better maintained or signposted. This will allow us to update the council’s Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan – a sub-strategy of Reading’s Local Transport Plan.

    People are also encouraged to report any historic Rights of Way that may be missing from the current network. This could include, for example, access to the private park land within the former BBC Monitoring Site at Caversham Park, which is currently on the market and off limits to the public, but some local residents claim the area once included public footpaths.

    Reading’s Public Rights of Way consultation will close on Thursday 24 July 2021.

    To take part online visit www.reading.gov.uk/RightsofWay

    For alternative formats contact transport@reading.gov.uk.

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  • Street parties are back in September!

    16 July 2021Street parties are back in September!

    Great news for anyone planning to hold a street party this year – Reading Borough Council has confirmed that it will waive its road closure fees for any weekend in September 2021. So if you are planning to hold a small street party and can arrange it for September you can close your road and it won’t cost you a penny!

    A small street party means one held in only one or two streets and for neighbours only. You will need to consult with residents in the streets affected and get evidence such as signatures to show that the majority are happy with the street closure. Most streets can be closed, the chief exceptions being main roads and bus routes.

    If your street is unsuitable for a party or you are unable to submit an application in time, there are plenty of other options. For example, there might be some communal space at the end of a cul-de-sac or off the road or a corner of a local park where you could hold a party.

    Although Covid restrictions are mostly ending in July and August, please be aware that there will be neighbours that will have concerns about large gatherings, particularly those that are vulnerable to Covid. We advise planning your party to allow enough space tor social distancing, and it would be good practice to have hand sanitiser available and pay extra attention to hygiene if there are communal areas where people will gather such as around a barbecue.

    Details and a road closure application form are are on the Reading Borough Council web site at www.reading.gov.uk/leisure/things-to-do/organising-an-event/street-parties-the-big-lunch.  But you will need to hurry – the deadline for street closure applications is 2 August.

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  • Future investment in community support: RBC consultation open until 25 July 2021

    25 June 2021Future investment in community support: RBC consultation open until 25 July 2021

    News from Reading Voluntary Action (RVA)

    Reading Borough Council has launched a consultation on ‘future investment in community support’. Voluntary and community groups have until 25 July 2021 to give their views.

    Since 2016, the council has focused on ‘narrowing the gap’ between different groups of residents. A number of voluntary and community organisations are now delivering services under funding agreements with the Council which are aimed at tackling poverty, promoting wellbeing, and supporting thriving communities. These agreements come to an end in May 2022, and we are interested in views from third sector groups about what the council should invest in as part of our next funding round, and how. Potentially, this could include a mix of contracts and grant awards of varying length.

    The council also needs to decide how long our next set of funding agreements should last. Longer agreements make it easier for organisations to plan, but there need to be regular opportunities to review priorities to make sure we’re still investing in what matters most.

    The council is asking voluntary community and faith sector organisations for their views to help plan the next stage. RBC will also be looking at other data which has been gathered on health, wellbeing and social inclusion in Reading, and what the organisations RBC currently commissions have told the council about how their services have been used.

    You can complete an online form here. Please contact Claire Muir (Policy and Voluntary Sector Manager at RBC) at clare.muir@reading.gov.uk if you have any queries, would like to receive a hard copy of the consultation questionnaire or require additional support to understand or complete the questionnaire.

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  • Emergency broadcast alert test in Reading on 29 June 2021

    25 June 2021Emergency broadcast alert test in Reading on 29 June 2021

    News from Reading Borough Council

    The UK government is introducing an emergency alert system using mobile phones. In the event of an emergency such as a flood or nuclear accident, the government and emergency services would have the ability to send a push message to mobile phones in a geographic area using cell broadcasting towers (i.e. not through phone networks) to warn the public about danger and advise how to stay safe. The system is being tested in Reading.

    Reading is part of a pilot of the system and will have a live public test on Tuesday 29 June between 1 and 2pm. At that time on that day, many people in Reading with a modern mobile phone that is switched on could receive a message, and their phone will ring and vibrate even if it is set to silent. This will happen even if they are driving or in a classroom, for example. It is based on location, not residency, so it will affect everyone in the area, even if they are just passing through. The message will appear on the home screen of the phone looking something like the image above.

    Please help spread the word to people who might not see the news reports. We are asking you to make people aware of the test – especially partners or service users who might not see the news reports, and who might be confused or frightened by receiving the alert. To help you raise awareness, there is a pack of resources from posters to social media posts that will help you get the message out. Download the toolkit here.

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  • Campaign to highlight food poverty – #EatFor20

    23 June 2021Campaign to highlight food poverty – #EatFor20

    Take part in #EatFor20 from 17 to 23 July 2021

    A new joint campaign from Citizens Advice Reading and ReadiFood is asking people to live on £20 for a week this summer, in order to highlight the need for continuing the £20 Covid-related uplift to Universal Credit (UC).

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the £20 a week benefit boost until the end of September, in a bid to help UC claimants who may be struggling financially during the pandemic. However, Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey recently signalled that the extra money may be stopped before the winter.

    Now Citizens Advice Reading and ReadiFood’s combined drive is asking people to live on £20 for a week – the sum someone living on UC might have to survive on, after paying rent and bills. This £20 needs to cover all living costs, for example all travel, as well as food costs.

    The #Eatfor20 challenge takes place from 17 to 23 July 2021, with more details available at www.rcab.org.uk/eatfor20-challenge. You can email your UC survival story to comms@citizensadvicereading.org.

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  • All adults in Reading can now walk in and get a Covid vaccine

    20 June 2021All adults in Reading can now walk in and get a Covid vaccine

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    In response to an increase in Covid-19 infections and cases of the Delta variant in Reading, the council and the NHS are boosting the local vaccination programme with a targeted vaccination clinic at the Reading Borough Council Civic Offices from Thursday 17 June to Friday 9 July. This offer has now been extended to anyone over 18 in Reading.

    People who have not received a vaccine are more likely to become ill or be hospitalised as a result of catching the Delta variant. Therefore, in addition to extra testing, Reading Borough Council and the local NHS are working together to ensure anyone aged over 18 who lives, works or studies in Reading can now receive their first dose of the Covid vaccine – if they have not yet been vaccinated at all. This will keep them safer and help minimise the spread of infection in Reading.

    Vaccination clinic details:
    -The programme is for anyone aged 18 and over who lives, works or studies in Reading who has not yet had any doses of the vaccine.
    -The vaccine clinic is at the Reading Borough Council Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU. Please go to the main entrance on Bridge Street.
    -The clinic is open from Thursday 17 June to Friday 9 July (this date has been extended), from 09:30 to 18:30, seven days a week.
    -You do not need an appointment.
    -You should bring a mask with you to wear in the building and if possible ID and proof that you live, work or study in the borough of Reading.
    -You may need to queue outside – please come prepared depending on the weather; water, sun cream, hat, umbrella etc.
    -There is no car parking on site. You can travel to the vaccine clinic on foot or by public transport. The closest public car park is The Oracle Shopping Centre.
    -The vaccine administered at the clinic is suitable for people under 40 and pregnant women.

    Further information:
    -If you have any questions about taking the vaccine or your personal medical circumstances, talk to your GP.
    -There is more information about the vaccination programme on the NHS website.
    -People aged 18 and over can also to book a vaccine at a mass vaccination site through the NHS website.
    -Read more on the RBC website.

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  • Lockdown easing delayed: what community groups needs to know

    19 June 2021Lockdown easing delayed: what community groups needs to know

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    This week the government announced that they would be pausing at Step 3 of the Spring 2021 Roadmap to the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions due to the increase of the Delta variant. This means that Step 3 coronavirus restrictions remain in place. You can read more here: Covid-19 Coronavirus Restrictions, what you can and cannot do.

    It is expected that the earliest we will now move to Step 4 is on 19 July 2021. However, all organisations should continue to check government updates for any changes to this.

    For most charities and community groups there is little change at present to the previous restrictions. Therefore you will still need to have a Covid-19 risk assessment in place to identify and reduce the risk of transmission when delivering services. Your charity or community group may still plan and deliver in-person services as long as you follow the relevant government guidance for the area of work and your services are Covid-19 secure. RVA can help advise you if you are unsure, so please do get in touch with us.

    Further support and resources for your charity or community group:
    NCVO Coronavirus Guidance: Managing Covid Risk
    -RVA Slides: Reopening your premises session 27 May 2021, which includes guidance on how to complete a risk assessment and additional resources.
    RBC has launched two funding pots to help community groups
    -Contact Herjeet at herjeet.randhawa@rva.org.uk for 1:1 advice for your community group or charity.

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  • RBC funding to support community and voluntary groups – closing date 25 July 2021

    18 June 2021RBC funding to support community and voluntary groups – closing date 25 July 2021

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    The council has launched two separate funding opportunities – the closing date for applicaitons for both is 25 July 2021.

    Small Grants Fund 2021/22
    RBC’s £100k Small Grants Fund 2021/22 is available for voluntary and community groups to apply for funding for community-led activities that tackle poverty and support mental wellbeing.

    The Small Grants fund is aimed at activities that increase people’s skills, confidence, and independence; help build relationships and self-help. This could be through:
    -Play, sport/ physical activities, music, dance, drama activities
    -Social activities
    -Food growing, cooking
    -Learning or training activities
    -Mentoring/coaching
    -Activities that bring different age groups or cultures together

    Individual organisations can apply for up to a £5k grant and 2 or more organisations applying in partnership can apply for up to £10k.

    The deadline for grant applications is 25 July 2021. For more information and to apply go to: www.reading.gov.uk/SmallGrantsFund

    Start-up/re-start grants for community groups
    The Council has also allocated £50k of its CEV (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) funding from the Government for Start-up/re-start grants to help community group meetings or activities get going again after lockdown to help people regain community connections where they may have already undergone lengthy periods of self-isolation, or who may be required to self-isolate in future and may be at risk of loneliness and social isolation. This includes people who may have been identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

    Organisations can apply for up to £1,000 per group being started/restarted (organisations may apply for more than one grant if they propose to run more than one group)

    The deadline for grant applications is 25 July 2021. For more information and to apply go to: www.reading.gov.uk/RestartFund

    Further information
    -If you have any queries please contact Clare Muir, Policy and Voluntary Sector Manager on clare.muir@reading.gov.uk or 01189 372119.
    -For support from RVA with your application, please contact the Advice Service Manager Herjeet Randhawa: herjeet.randhawa@rva.org.uk.

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  • Covid surge testing starts in Reading

    4 June 2021Covid surge testing starts in Reading

    A Covid surge testing programme is underway for residents, workers and students over the age of 12 in the following postcode areas:
    RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6, RG1 7

    Testing takes place from Monday 7 June until Sunday 20 June. There is currently no change to local restrictions in the light of this testing. You can still travel to work and school in the affected areas. Please continue to follow public health advice and national guidelines to minimise the spread of the virus www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

    You should take the test if you live or work in the affected areas even if you don’t have symptoms, have received a Covid vaccination or have been taking regular Lateral Flow (rapid) tests.

    However, you should not take the test if you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days using a PCR test.

    You can order a test online from www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

    Alternatively, you can get a test at a local test site from Monday 7 June. No appointment is needed:

    Site Address Time Service
    Prospect Park Liebenrood Road, Reading RG30 2ND 14.00-20.00 Walk-up
    Reading University London Road, Crown Place, Reading RG1 5AQ 14.00-20.00 Walk-up
    Reading University Car Park 7 Reading University, RG6 6DR 12:00-18:00 Drive or walk-up
    Thames Valley Park & Ride Earley, RG6 1PQ 07:30- 13:30 and 14:30- 20:30 Drive or walk-up
    Microsoft Campus Thames Valley Business Park, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 1WG 08.00-20.00 (closed Sundays) Drive or walk-up

    You will get a text or email with your result within 3 days. If you do not have symptoms you can continue to go to work or school while you wait for your results.

    If you test positive you must self-isolate immediately along with your household for 10 days to stop the spread of the virus, and engage with contact tracers when contacted. To check if you are eligible for a self-isolation support payment please visit www.reading.gov.uk/covidselfisolate, or contact the One Reading Community Hub if you need extra help to self-isolate www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-one-reading-community-hub-support/

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  • Water Fest is back!

    22 May 2021Water Fest is back!

    News from Reading Borough Council

    Reading Borough Council is delighted to announce the return of its much-loved Reading Water Fest on 19 June this year as the flagship celebration event to mark the 900th anniversary of Reading Abbey.

    2021 is an incredibly auspicious year for Reading – marking 900 years since Reading Abbey, originally one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries, was founded by King Henry I of EnglandReading Water Fest will be the focal celebration event for this landmark year.

    Water Fest is Reading’s largest free town centre-based community event. It will feature an exciting mix of arts, culture and heritage, through live and digital performances, activities and workshops. The Abbey’s illustrious history will be brought to life with the Forbury Civil War Camp and Medieval Village where people can experience the sounds and smells of the Quarter’s history.

    This accessible one-day event will take place on Saturday 19 June between 11am and 5pm, within the Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins and along the River Kennet, celebrating the Abbey’s rich 900-year history and its environmental and heritage connections with Reading’s waterways.

    As with all events this year in the light of the ongoing pandemic, Water Fest will look very different from previous years. The event will be delivered in a stringently Covid compliant way.  Workshop and interactive activities will be booked in advance and numbers will be limited. Safety measures will necessitate a ticketed system, with reduced capacity and staggered arrival times. It is anticipated that there should be plenty of tickets to go around, but the public is encouraged to sign on early to avoid disappointment. During the event the gardens and abbey will be closed to the general public.

    Please note that admission is by ticket only this year. Details on how to book a free ticket at this event are on What’s On Reading. A range of online activities will also be on offer to complement the live event.

    To take part either by volunteering, performing at the event or running a stall or activity please get in touch.

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Upcoming events

  • Sun
    25
    Jul
    2021
    15:00 - 18:00KIng's Meadow

    92 Napier Rd, Reading, RG1 8AB

    Reading Interfaith Group would like to celebrate this opportunity to strengthen our ties as a community. We have all been through a challenging time. Many of us have experienced illness, bereavement, isolation, uncertainty and fear. We have learned to make sacrifices and appreciate nature, whilst valuing family and friends even more.

    25th July is St James day. 900 years after the founding of Reading Abbey we can be honest about the challenges life can sometimes bring, united as a community and ready to support each other.

    Please bring your own food, drink, hand sanitiser and appropriate activities to share.

    All ages welcome, children accompanied by a responsible adult and well-behaved dogs on a lead.

  • Sat
    25
    Sep
    2021
    12:00 - 16:00Forbury Gardens

    Reading, RG1 3BB

    The biggest ‘picnic in the park’ returns to Reading (Covid permitting). It brings together food, music, community stalls, workshops and local producers. It’s a fantastic celebration of local food sustainability.

    You can be part of this by volunteering or growing produce (see details on the website). Or just come along to enjoy food prepared and served by Reading College catering students, made from locally grown fruit and vegetables.

    Don’t miss out! Reading Town Meal helps to make Reading a special place.

    Website: www.readingtownmeal.org.uk

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