News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 21 August 2018

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
  • New computer support sessions for Reading residents

    17 August 2018

    The “Get Online Reading” project to help the town’s people use the internet has been steadily expanding and is now available at two new venues.

    Residents of Dee Park now have the chance to go to a monthly drop-in session to help them with technology and the “Get Online” project has also started working with Reading Deaf Centre.

    The Dee Park sessions are open to the public and are held on the first Tuesday of each month at the new Workhouse Coffee café on Spey Road (RG30 4DD). The good news is that Catalyst Housing, who manage part of the estate, are offering a free coffee too! Just come along with your laptop, smartphone or tablet from 10am until midday and ask for help.

    The “Get Online” project has also started sessions for the deaf community at Reading Deaf Centre. The first session was a presentation on staying safe online supported by a sign language interpreter and future one-to-one support sessions with an interpreter are planned.

    There are regular Get Online sessions at libraries and community venues all around the town – further details and a full calendar can be found at

  • Reading’s second annual Disability Awareness Day

    16 August 2018

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    A Disability Awareness Day for Reading took place on Wednesday 8 August 2018 at the Weller Centre in Caversham. Themed around culture, wellbeing and leisure, the event celebrated the diversity of Reading residents and visitors who may have a physical disability, sensory need or neurological condition.

    Mayor of Reading, Councillor Debs Edwards opened the event and cut a specially decorated cake. Staff from Reading Borough Council, Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) and the Weller Centre helped to run the day, and volunteers recruited by RVA gave up their time to ensure that everyone could participate fully.

    Twenty-two information stands provided information about services and groups available to disabled people living in Reading. Contributors included Guide Dogs, with their app for crossing the road, Reading Deaf Centre, The Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, Get Berkshire Active, Healthwatch Reading and Arthritis Matters.

    Entertainment was provided for adults and children, as well as interactive disability awareness sessions. There was the opportunity for attendees to try out Tai Chi, mindfulness, singing, or some simple sign language. The event concluded with an powerful performance from Rona Topaz, disabled singer and songwriter.

    The Disability Awareness Day has now established itself as an annual event for Reading. It’s an opportunity for disabled people to obtain information, support and generally meet one another. The event promotes the vast array of  services, voluntary organisations and charities, which exist to ensure that disabled people in Reading can live full and independent lives.

  • Compass Recovery College – Autumn Prospectus Launch

    16 August 2018

    On Wednesday 15 August, Caversham Court Gardens saw the launch of the new Compass Recovery College prospectus for 2018 to 2019. Among those attending was the Mayor of Reading, Councillor Debs Edwards, who said she was ‘delighted’ to see the service that Compass Recovery College offers and emphasised that mental health is an issue that affects us all, whether we struggle with it personally, or know someone who does.

    Compass Recovery College offers a range of courses to suit a variety of needs – topics include understanding mental health, looking after yourself, money management and employability. Compass also offers a range of peer-led social and community activities, including the Tea Kiosk and Allotment in Caversham Court Gardens and the Badminton Group at Meadway Sports Centre.

    More information about Compass Recovery College is available on their website at

  • Consultation on Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework

    10 August 2018

    Reading Borough Council has published the Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework for consultation and are seeking your views on the proposals set out in the document for the future development of this important town centre area. The consultation formally started on the 20 July 2018 and will close at the end of the day 28 September 2018.

    The Hosier Street area is an area of significant change as a result of:
    -The demolition of the Council offices which leaves a large vacant site
    -Ambitious proposals being developed by the owners of the Broad Street Mall for the remodelling of the Broad Street Mall
    -The review by Thames Valley Police of their existing headquarters buildings operations

    The draft framework for the Hosier Street area has therefore been prepared. This provides a comprehensive masterplan and urban design framework for the area with a particular emphasis on creating high quality public realm around which various mixed uses will be located.

    An exhibitions/drop in event will be held in the Hexagon Theatre on Wednesday 5 September 2018 between 15:00 and 19:00. The event will be manned by Council officers who will help to explain the proposals.

    If you would like to make comments on the proposals and documentation, the consultation documents are available online at: along with a response survey.

    (Photo: Andrew Smith)

  • Voluntary role: Voluntary and Community Sector Representative

    9 August 2018

    If you have an active and current role in the Voluntary and Community Sector in Berkshire and want to make a difference to the wider Thames Valley economy, Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Ltd would like to hear from you.

    The purpose of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is to bring about sustainable economic growth of the Thames Valley Berkshire sub region through the implementation of a strategic economic plan. It is a business-led organisation, endorsed by government since 2010.

    This voluntary role will be as a volunteer sector representative on the Thames Valley Berkshire Area ESI Funds Sub-Committee and will be for a minimum of three years. The Committee meets quarterly though additional input outside of meetings may be required. Download details of the role from the website at

    If you wish to apply for this position, please send your CV/Profile and a one-page summary of your reasons for wanting to join the Partnership, to by 09:00 Monday 10 September 2018.

  • Reading Town Meal 2018 – pledge your veg!

    8 August 2018

    News from: Reading International Solidarity Centre

    This year’s Reading Town Meal needs everyone to be involved! You can help by donating your veg which will be cooked up into a delicious meal by the students of Reading College, and served FREE in Forbury Gardens on 29 September 2018.

    Whether you have your own allotment or grow in your garden, or have never grown before and want to give something a go, get involved and ‘pledge your veg’ today.

    It’s not too late to grow! Plenty of fruit and vegetables will grow in time for the event, including salad leaves, rocket, radishes and salad onions. All of your berries and currants can also be frozen now ready for September.

    If you would like to ‘pledge your veg’, please complete an online application form found on the website at

    We hope that this year’s Town Meal will be the best yet!

  • Start your own business workshops

    7 August 2018

    The Real Business Club are running their popular, free workshops again this autumn. They are interactive, friendly, practical and cover everything you need to think about if you want to start your own business. They offer clear explanations, delivered by business professionals, with plenty of time for questions and answers.

    Workshop programme
    -Wednesday 5 September: You and your idea
    -Wednesday 19 September: Customers: web and social media
    -Wednesday 3 October: Finance and tax
    -Wednesday 17 October: Pricing and sales
    -Wednesday 31 October: Legal aspects and ongoing processes
    -Wednesday 14 November: Planning and presentation for success

    Each workshop runs from 10:00 to 13:00 and takes place at Reading Business Centre, Fountain House, 2 Queens Walk, Reading RG1 7QF.

    Book your free place by emailing, phoning 01189 680813 or visiting The Real Business Club website at

  • Can you help with our research into youth isolation and loneliness?

    2 August 2018

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    Catherine, RVA’s summer intern for 2018, is looking for organisations that work with 11-25 year olds to be part of her research into the causes and impacts of youth isolation and loneliness in Reading.

    Following on from RVA’s report into loneliness in Reading last year, Catherine is looking for young people (and those who work with them) to answer a few questions about:
    -Their experiences of isolation and loneliness
    -The impact of these experiences
    -What changes they would like to see in the local area to alleviate isolation and loneliness.

    If you are interested in taking part, please email to arrange a meeting.

Upcoming events
  • Sat
    12:00 onwardsKing's Meadow Park

    Reading RG1 8BN

    Reading Pride's annual Parade & Festival returns for its fifteenth year on Saturday 1 September at Kings Meadow. The Festival kicks off when the Parade arrives at 12:00 with a full line-up of entertainment throughout the day along with a funfair, youth area, a wide range of food, drink and marketstalls.

    Pride is organised by the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and provides free fun for all the family. For more information see the website at

  • Sat
    14:00 - 17:00Caversham Court Gardens

    Church Road, Caversham, Reading RG4 7AD

    Take a tour of the historic gardens and fine specimen trees and visit the listed 17th Century summer house to see an exhibition about Extraordinary Women of Caversham available on Saturday and Sunday.

    Guided tours of the beautiful gardens and the listed 17th Century summer house give a unique glimpse of the history of the house that once stood on this site, of the families who lived here and the history of Caversham and its links with Reading, across the Thames.

    Sensory tours for visually or hearing impaired people are available on request, led by experienced guides from the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens. The charity-run Tea Kiosk will be open on site.

  • Tue
    17:30 - 19:30Reading Voluntary Action

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

    Are you passionate about a cause in Reading, have links to particular community group and skills to share? Would you like to help a community group to improve their governance and how they operate, without becoming a trustee?

    Join the Social Action Mentors:

    • Receive basic good governance training from the RVA Advice Worker
    • Put this into practice by mentoring your community group
    • Be part of a network of Social Action Mentors in Reading
    • Great for your personal and professional development!

    At this launch event you will have the opportunity to find out more, receive some initial training and meet other Social Action Mentors. Light refreshments from 17:30, with a 17:45 start.

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

  • 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:

    • 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.

  • Thu
    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
    10:00 - 18:00Reading Town Hall and St Laurences Church

    Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH

    Reading's Vegan Festival is a celebration of all things vegan. It's an opportunity for anyone who wants to find out more, to try food, hear inspirational and informative speakers, find out what a range of local and national charities do and find out more about the range of ethical and cruelty free products that are out there.

    Expect to see stalls selling vegan hot and cold food, makeup, perfume, clothing, tea and coffee. We are expanding our workshops and demos this year, plus we have the hugely popular face-painting and story time for all kids big and small.

    The festival festival will take place in the Town Hall, as well as St Laurences Church, and with a street food market in Market Place.

    The event is free so it's accessible for everyone, whether you're already vegan, curious about veganism or had never given it a thought in your life before!

  • Sat
    12:00 - 16:00Forbury Gardens

    Reading RG1 3BB

    Reading Town Meal is a truly community-powered event. All the food is donated by the wonderful growers and allotment holders around Reading, cooked by Reading College students, and served free in Forbury Gardens. The aim is to promote sustainable food production, educating people about the provenance and environmental impacts of food production.

    Alongside the food, there are fun activities for kids and adults, workshops and local food producers. Community groups will set out their stalls and music from local bands will keep the tempo going all afternoon.

    Find out more at

  • Thu
    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.

    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. You will leave with an improved knowledge of what the position entails along with how to limit any liability you might face.

    Register at to confirm your place.

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