News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 4 December 2020

Welcome to the latest Reading Neighbourhood Network newsletter, where you will find all the latest news and events from our members and the local voluntary sector. All our news and much more can be found on our website at

News articles

  • Mental Health Community Grants – open until 9 December 2020

    30 November 2020Mental Health Community Grants – open until 9 December 2020

    News from Reading Voluntary Action (RVA)

    We are pleased to announce this new funding to deliver early help and wellbeing support for Black and Asian Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities within Berkshire West.

    The programme aims to identify voluntary sector organisations that can deliver and support BAMER groups in our communities accessing early help, support with navigating the system to access the right level of support they need to prevent mental ill health, reduce mental health stigma and promote good wellbeing. Groups can apply for a maximum of £5,000 with multiple applications. The funding is from Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has been awarded £20,000 as part of winter pressures planning in delivering Mental Health Urgent and Emergency Care for 2020/21. RVA is managing the grants process in partnership with Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Involve – Wokingham and Berkshire Health NHS Foundation Trust.

    The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted significant inequalities within the BAMER communities across health, social care, and social determinants of life such as loss of finances, unemployment/redundancies, social isolation including people living alone and people not being able to go out due to complexities. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a well-recognised collective spirit of communities coming together to help rebuild our social networks and support people in need in the communities. We have seen the strength in joint collaboration of health, social care and our voluntary sector partners working to deliver service integration for all.

    Whilst we recognise that there is an incredible voluntary and community sector and many larger groups and charities need financial support, we have specifically been awarded this sum to distribute to those groups who often do not have the same access to funding opportunities. Your organisation will need to fit the criteria outlined in the guidance notes.

    To make an application:

    Read the guidance notes here.

    Complete the online form here.

    You will need to submit your organisation’s set of accounts and bank statement with your application. The application deadline is 9 December  2020, successful applicants will be notified by 14 December 2020 and your project is to be completed by 31 March 2021.

    If you need help with applying or have any questions about this funding, please contact Herjeet Randhawa, RVA Advice Manager at or telephone our main number on 0118 937 2273. One-to-one support is available to all small community groups in Reading for support with this application and a meeting can be set up via telephone or Zoom.

  • Energy vouchers available from Citizens Advice Reading – by referral

    30 November 2020Energy vouchers available from Citizens Advice Reading – by referral

    News from Citizens Advice Reading

    Organisations in Berkshire who work with people who may be struggling with their energy bills, for all sorts of reasons – debts, loss of job, because they are vulnerable or elderly or living in cold homes  – can make a referral to Citizens Advice Reading for energy vouchers.

    Citizens Advice Reading is reaching out through Berkshire Community Foundation to extend their reach to all organisations who have frontline teams, working with eligible clients, who can be referred through to them. The funding is only available until 21 January 2021 and is for clients who meet the following criteria:

    -use a prepayment meter

    -have been affected by Covid-19 and

    -are struggling to top up their fuel.

    The vouchers have a value of £28 for a single person and £49 for a family household – each client who qualifies can potentially receive up to 3 vouchers, so a really valuable contribution to winter energy costs.

    A referral is required from the charity or organisation working with the eligible client. Here is a link to the online form: Fuel Vouchers Request form.  Once completed, Citizens Advice Reading will carry out checks and ensure clients aren’t accessing the scheme through more than one route. They are aiming for a 3 working day turnaround time from receipt of request to issue of the first voucher.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch with Jenny Neagle at Citizens Advice Reading on

  • Food waste collections start in February 2021

    30 November 2020Food waste collections start in February 2021

    News from Reading Borough Council (RBC)

    Reading Borough Council is introducing a weekly food waste collection for residents in February 2021, as well as reducing the size of the general waste bins. The recycling team are keen to engage with as many community associations as possible.

    If you are able to help with distribution of information to residents of Reading they would like to hear from you. The recycling team are also going to be translating some of their communications into other languages, so if you think this would help please get in touch.

    Please contact with your information and an officer will get in contact. Read more about the new scheme on the RBC website here.

  • RVA launches expanded Social Prescribing service

    14 November 2020RVA launches expanded Social Prescribing service

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    RVA is extending its existing Social Prescribing service to work with Primary Care Networks across Reading. This month RVA welcomes four new Social Prescribing Link Workers: Sharon Fitton, Louise Keane, Helen Murphy and Charlotte Netherton-Sinclair. They join longstanding Social Prescribers Amber Holdway and Sarah Martin, and Social Prescribing Coordinator Liz Morrison at RVA, and Age UK Berkshire’s Social Prescriber Jodie Burrage.

    The Social Prescribing team will be working with Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across Reading, taking referrals from GPs and healthcare practitioners, as well as Reading Borough Council Adult Social Care, Royal Berkshire Hospital Occupational Therapists and Talking Therapies.

    The aim of the Social Prescribing service is to link people aged 16 and over to the activities and support offered by Reading’s voluntary and community groups, empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing. NHS England explains why Social Prescribing is so valuable:

    It’s estimated that one in five of the people who go to see their GP are troubled by things that can’t be cured by medical treatment. GPs tell us that they spend significant amounts of time dealing with the effects of poor housing, debt, stress and loneliness. Many people are overwhelmed and can’t reach out to make the connections that could make a difference to their situation. This is especially true for people who have long-term conditions, who need support with their mental health, who are lonely or isolated, or who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

    That’s where Social Prescribing Link Workers come in, helping people to identify what matters to them and work out how to connect with the community activities that might make a difference.

    Further information
    -If you have received support from the Social Prescribing service in the past and would like us to get in touch again, please email
    -If you are a professional looking to make a referral, please email
    -Read more at and check back as we update the Social Prescribing resources on our website over the coming weeks.

  • Reading Rotary Virtual Santa Run 2020

    13 November 2020Reading Rotary Virtual Santa Run 2020

    The Seventh Reading Rotary Santa Run is now open for entries. Due to the uncertainty caused by coronavirus it will not be possible for us to all run together. Participants will complete a safe Virtual Run at any time either in the park, around town, up and down their stairs, or even on a treadmill, between 1 December and 31 December 2020. Families and friends can get together to run, walk, jog or cycle in their own bubble giving everyone the opportunity to join in the festive fun.

    Reading Rotary organises the event and this year’s race will be in aid of various Rotary charities. In the past they have supported Macmillan Nurses, Sport in Mind, Launchpad, The Multiple Sclerosis Society and many other charities.

    All entrants, including children, will receive a unique special event medal and there will be prizes for all ages.

    As usual they expect entrants of all abilities, including children, babies in buggies, those with disabilities, dog owners and of course serious runners, joggers, walkers, cyclists and swimmers.

    Enter a team to raise funds for your charity: Rotary are particularly encouraging charities to enter sponsored teams to raise funds for their own charity. There is a special rate of £75 for charity teams of 10. The teams can run as individuals or in their own bubble.

    Further information
    Go to the Reading Santa Run website to find out more and register.
    Download a flyer.

  • Veg4Reading update

    12 November 2020Veg4Reading update

    News from: Food4Families

    The Veg4Reading project started in June 2020 in response to the number of residents needing additional food parcels or hot meals in order to get by. The project has recruited 71 volunteers to date, who have been working at four Food4families sites, Whitley GrowAllot, Southcote GrowAllot, Lavender Place and Katesgrove Community Allotment, to extend the food growing capacity and grow additional fruit and veg.

    This produce, along with surplus donated from local allotment and home growers, has been distributed to the following 6 organisations that provide free food parcels and hot meals to vulnerable residents:

    -Whitley Community Development Association
    -The Weller Centre
    -The Red Kitchen
    -New Beginnings

    Between them they feed 1,500 people per month. The total of donated veg and fruit so far is 755kg at a value equivalent to £3,500.

    Food4families are hoping to secure the funding required to keep the project going through into 2021 to respond to the continued need. We are still open to receive donations of fruit and veg and have ongoing volunteer opportunities. For more details contact 07551 942960 or email

  • Council launches winter wellbeing campaign

    12 November 2020Council launches winter wellbeing campaign

    Working alongside the local NHS, Royal Berkshire Hospital and partners in the voluntary sector, Reading Borough Council has launched a seven-week campaign to ‘Stay Well in Reading this Winter.’

    With the cold winter nights now drawing in, the campaign aims to address some of the challenges we will all face over the coming weeks and how we can help ourselves, help others and be resilient to the pressures of the pandemic and the second national lockdown.

    Each week have a different focus – starting with important messages around flu vaccinations, when you should call 999/111 and where to seek medical help and advice.

    Other topics over the coming weeks will include:

    -Self-help for mental and physical wellbeing

    -Getting support for victims of domestic abuse

    -Volunteering – how you can help support others

    -Where to get financial help and support to stay warm

    -Look out for messages on @ReadingCouncil social media channels and in the council’s eNewletter.

    Find out more at: or get in touch with any questions on how to access wellbeing services by emailing

  • Berkshire weekly Covid-19 briefings

    9 November 2020Berkshire weekly Covid-19 briefings

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    Public Health for Berkshire are producing a weekly briefing to share the latest local Covid-19 information with a wider audience. It includes:
    -Current information and surveillance.
    -Key messages from the Strategic Director of Public Health for Berkshire and the six local authorities.

    Download the briefings here:

Upcoming events

  • Thu
    10:00 - 12:00Online via Zoom

    Come and enjoy some Christmas cheer in the relaxed, informal environment of Age UK Berkshire’s next online café for older people.

    Just like our previous Virtual Cafés, this online event will be run on video-calling platform Zoom and will be a chance to have a natter with old friends as well as chat to new ones. Don’t forget to bring a cuppa – and even a mince pie if you’re ready to get into that festive spirit!

    To join this event you must register beforehand on Eventbrite at

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