News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 21 February 2019

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
  • Thinking of holding a street party? Free road closures available this summer

    20 February 2019

    To ensure that everybody enjoys celebrating their Big Lunch, this year the council is giving you the opportunity to hold a street party on one of three weekends in the summer.

    The weekends are 1-2 June, 22-23 June or 6-7 July. The first weekend is the official Big Lunch weekend and the last two weekends have been added by popular demand for the Great Get-Together.

    To help celebrate the Big Lunch the council will be waiving the usual road closure fee for any approved street party taking place over those weekends – so that residents can celebrate without any extra costs.

    To apply to hold a street party for the Big Lunch on any of the above dates, please download the application form from and send it via post to Street Parties, Communications Department, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU or by emailing the completed form to The deadline for applications this year is 22 April 2019.

    Closing a street will need agreement from half the affected households – the forms are quite straightforward and completed applications from most streets that are not on bus routes will be accepted. Even if you are unable to close your street you might be able to have a party in a local park or other area of open space.

    For further ideas or help in planning your street party please visit the Big Lunch or Street Party official websites at and

  • Take part in research at the University of Reading

    18 February 2019

    This project explores what factors other than language influence how we communicate. Specifically, we assess how different conversation partners affect the way in which people communicate.

    This study will help research on communication in people with or without brain impairments and may help people with acquired brain injury in the future.

    What will I have to do?
    You and your partner will visit the University of Reading twice, together. Both visits will last 2.5-3 hours and will be scheduled according to your availability. You will receive £5 each, per visit.
    1. Background testing (questionnaires, task on a laptop, etc.).
    2. Playing a game that requires you to communicate with another person. You will play the game with your partner, and with an unfamiliar partner.

    -40-65 years of age
    -No history of neurological or psychiatric illness
    -Native speaker of English

    For more information, please email Willemijn Doedens at

  • Courier fraud in Reading – advice from Thames Valley Police

    7 February 2019

    Elderly and vulnerable residents in Reading Police Area have been targeted by courier fraudsters. There are many variations of the courier scam, but it usually follows this method:
    -A fraudster will cold call the victim on a landline, often claiming to be from the victim’s bank, the police, or to be a fraud investigator.
    -The fraudster states their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment in the victim’s account, or that they need the victim’s help in investigating fraudulent activity at the bank.
    -In order to reassure the victim that they are genuine they suggest that the victim hangs up and rings the bank/police back straight away. However, they don’t hang up at their end to disconnect the call from the landline so even when the genuine bank/police number is dialled the victim is still talking to the fraudster.
    -Finally, the fraudsters will send a courier to collect the card and PIN, cash or in some cases take the victim to a bank to withdraw cash.

    Thames Valley Police are calling on friends and family to help tackle the problem by talking to elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives. The talk should cover:
    -Never deal with cold callers on the phone or in person, no matter how polite or friendly they are.
    -Your bank, the police or anyone legitimate will never send a courier to your home to collect your bank cards or your money and they will never ask for your PIN. Close the door, lock it and call 101 to speak to the police.
    -Keep a mobile phone next to your landline, and if you want to make a phone call call immediately after hanging up the landline, always use the other phone.
    -If you do hand over your bank details or card, don’t panic. Call your bank immediately using another phone, such as a mobile phone, explain what’s happened and cancel your cards.
    -Legitimate callers will never try to rush you, scare you, or force you into anything. If you feel scared or pressured at any point, hang up or shut the door and tell someone you trust what’s happened.

  • Reading Dispensary Trust – grants available

    6 February 2019

    News from: Reading Dispensary Trust

    Reading Dispensary Trust makes monthly grants for equipment and services not available through statutory sources, to those suffering from physical and mental illness, living within a seven mile radius of the centre of Reading.

    Applications are only accepted from organisations/agencies on behalf of their clients. Grants have been given for many items including white goods, furniture, carpeting, mobility aids, holidays, laptops and driving lessons.

    The Trust meet on a monthly basis to award grants below £500; they meet quarterly to award grants over £500. The Trust are keen to work with new organisations within Reading who have users with any form of medical need.

    Application forms and guidelines are available to download from the website at If you require advice about an application please email

  • Let BCF know your views on the current funding climate

    4 February 2019

    News from: Berkshire Community Foundation

    Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) want to know what you think about the current funding climate for third sector organisations.

    BCF distributes grants, provides advice and raises the profile of local charities and community groups addressing identified need across Berkshire. They want to make sure they understand what fundraising is like on the ground for the groups they support.

    They would like your views on how policies have affected the third sector in recent years, with a particular focus on Big Society policy as this was a third-sector focused initiative. This data will be used to feed into a wider report on the impact of recent policy on the third sector and the current funding climate. The report will then be used to inform BCF donors about funding for local groups and how policies have affected groups in Berkshire.

    To have your say, please complete the online survey at or email to organise a phone interview.

  • Children Celebrate Toy Library Launch at Reading Central Library

    31 January 2019

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    Reading Library Service’s Toy Library, which was previously housed in Southcote, has now moved to Reading Central Library and is housed in a fun new castle themed enclosure.

    The toy library offers a fantastic selection of toys and games, catering for all ages, from babies to teens. The carefully selected resources include many that are appropriate for children with special needs.

    Good toys can be expensive to buy, children soon grow out of them and get bored. By borrowing them from a toy library instead, different toys can be enjoyed without the expense of buying new ones all the time.

    Parents can choose from a wide selection of small, medium or large toys at a minimal cost. Toys on offer range from Duplo sets and push & ride walkers, musical instruments and story sacks, to popular indoor games like marble runs, puzzles and Lego.

    It is also an ideal way to hire larger indoor and outdoor games for children’s parties – with giant dominos, inflatable ball pits, large hoopla and giant snakes & ladders available.

    The toy library is available during Central Library’s opening hours, which can be viewed here:

    People no longer need to take out an annual membership fee to borrow toys – two toys can be taken out on an adult library card for up to three weeks, from 50p for small toys up to a maximum of £3 for the largest items.

    For more information contact Central Library on 01189 015950. Browse and request items from the toy library online here

Upcoming events
  • Wed
    10:00 - 15:00Broad Street Mall

    Broad Street, Reading RG1 7QE

    Are you struggling to pay your gas or electricity bill? Are you worried about your energy bills going up?

    Get free energy advice! Citizens Advice Reading will be at the Broad Street Mall on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 February.

    No appointment needed – just bring your latest bill/statement/meter reading and we can help you:

    • Cut the cost of heating
    • Get the support and help you need
    • Deal with draughts, condensation and energy efficiency


  • Thu
    10:00 - 16:00The Calcot Centre

    Highview, Reading RG31 4XD

    This fun, energetic, free course introduces you to community organising. This whole day training event is facilitated by independent charity Community Council for Berkshire (CCB) and run by community organisers.

    What is community organising?
    Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns and overcome social injustice. Community organisers reach out and listen, connect and motivate people to build their collective power. When people are organised, communities get heard and power begins to shift creating real change for good.

    What does the course cover?
    This one-day course is an introduction to community organising as a process which can reach out and bring people together to form stronger relationships and develop community activities together. During this course you will explore:

    • What community organising is
    • The importance of listening to build relationships and uncover issues
    • Power in communities and why it matters
    • How to motivate people to take action
    • How to take your next steps in community organising and social action.

    This course is free to attend but places are limited so a £10 administration fee will be charged if you fail to attend the course. To book your place please complete the online form on the website at

  • Thu
    10:30 - 14:00The Reading Minster

    Chain Steet, Reading RG1 2HX

    Start 2019 with positive thoughts about your wellbeing. Compass Recovery college are holding a free event to celebrate the connection between physical and mental health.

    There are many ways to approach physical and mental wellbeing. It doesn’t all have to be about lifting huge weights and climbing mountains.

    Compass Recovery College will be joined by local charities and organisations who will provide information about:

    • Physical and mental wellbeing
    • How to get fit
    • Services available in Reading
    • The importance of creativity

    There will be people who have overcome mental health challenges sharing their experiences and tips for success.

    Entrance is free and refreshments will be provided – come and join us!

  • Sat
    14:00 - 16:00Park United Reformed Church

    Palmer Park Avenue, Reading RG6 1DN.

    AutAngel is a not for profit organisation run by and for autistic adults. We run courses, support groups and activities for autistic people. This is our first AutAngel Community Meeting; we are inviting autistic adults living in the Berkshire area to join us and hear about our current projects and have the opportunity to help us decide on the best groups and activities to expand our work.

    Participants in our current groups will be sharing their experiences and there will be an opportunity to catch up over refreshments. We will be meeting in David’s Hall at Park United Reformed Church in Reading, where a number of our groups take place. There is parking for cars and bikes very nearby and the venue is on the 17 bus route.

  • Sat
    18:00 - 20:30The Bulmershe School

    Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, Reading RG5 3EU

    A showcase of the talent from some of Reading’s best young people’s performing arts groups with performances including theatre, street dance, traditional Indian dance, mime and music!

    Acts include: Berzerk Productions, Starlet Dance School, Conco Dance, Kalakunj, Mary Hare School and choirs from The Bumershe School.

    All proceeds from the show go to No5 Young People to help ensure that they can continue to provide mental health support for Reading’s children and young people.

    For more information and to book online see the website at

  • Sun
    12:30 - 16:30Coley Park Community Centre

    140 Wensley Road, Reading RG1 6DW

    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:

    • Electronics
    • Mechanical items
    • Computers (hardware/software)
    • Toys/Furniture
    • Clothing/textiles
    • 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. As well as repairs, you can pop in for a cuppa and homemade cake.

    Email if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

  • Tue
    10:30 - 12:30Elevate 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.

    Click here to register

  • Wed
    10:15 - 13:15Reading Voluntary Action

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

    If you are new to the role of treasurer for a charity, if you would like a refresher of the role, or if you would simply like to find out more about being a treasurer, this course is for you. If you aren’t yet volunteering as a treasurer but would like to, RVA can then help place you with an organisation to put your new skills into practice.

    Aims of the workshop

    • To build an understanding of the role of a treasurer in a small voluntary organization
    • To ensure the ability to deal with the specifics of the finances of a small voluntary organization
    • To give confidence about the issues that are likely to be faced by a treasurer of a small voluntary organisation

    Learning outcomes - The content covered will be tailored depending on the needs of delegates on the day. However typically attendees will:

    • Understand their financial responsibilities as trustees
    • Understand the particular requirements for the accounts of a small voluntary organisation
    • Be aware of corporate governance issues facing small voluntary organisations
    • Be ready to resolve issues with record keeping and know where to get help if they need it
    • Be able to determine if the organisation they volunteer with needs an audit or independent examination of their accounts

    The workshop will be open to up to 12 delegates. It will be aimed primarily at new volunteers who wish to act as treasurers in Reading’s voluntary sector, but will also be suitable for volunteers who are stepping up to the role of treasurer.

    The course is at our reduced rate of £50 for Reading based charities and community groups. There are a limited number of FREE places for RNN members using the usual promotional code - please contact us at if you need this code.

    Please register at

  • Sat
    11:00 - 14:00Grange United Reformed Church

    Circuit Lane, Southcote, Reading RG30 3HD

    Easter Market with many stalls including Crafts, Cakes, Easter Tombola, Raffle, Books, Bric-Brac, charity stalls, plus tea, coffee, hot cross buns, sandwiches and ploughman’s lunches.

  • Sat
    14:00 - 16:00Caversham Court Gardens

    Church Road, Caversham, Reading RG4 7AD

    Celebrate Easter at the Caversham Court Gardens, where the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will be hosting an Easter Egg Trail on a nature theme in the lovely riverside gardens. All young competitors will win an Easter egg prize. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

    Entry is free, but donations to the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will be appreciated. For further information please email

  • Wed
    18:30 - 20:30St Laurence's Church

    Friar Street, Reading RG1 1DA

    Reading Soup returns for the second event of 2019 this May Day!

    Join us in the stunning venue of St Laurence for an evening of Community Projects, live music, art from local artists and delicious, home-made vegan soup!

    How Reading Soup works:
    - £5 gets you a warm bowl of delicious Soup
    - Local Groups and Projects pitch about their work to the crowd
    - The crowd vote for their favourite Project
    - The Project with the most votes WINS all of the door money
    - Plus there's live music and art on display to enjoy

    Children are welcome and the venue is fully accessible. Find out more on the website at

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