News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 20 September 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

UPDATE: In the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis we are compiling a map on our website of local groups that are offering support in their neighbourhoods. Would you like to be listed?
RNN members: please check your contact details at and let us know at
Other groups: please fill in the short form here.

News articles

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

Upcoming events

  • Tue
    11:00 - 13:00Online via Zoom

    The Volunteer Coordinators’ Network meeting provides a space for those who oversee the work of volunteers to seek peer support in a confidential space from others in a similar role. It is an opportunity to share best practise and to learn from the rich experiences of colleagues working across our diverse sector.

    Volunteering has been at the forefront of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak with volunteers taking on key roles in delivering community initiatives to mitigate the impact of the outbreak. This has seen existing organisations delivering new services as well as transforming existing ones. It has also seen new forms of social action take shape to address community needs.

    Volunteering has probably never been more prominent and we have a unique opportunity to help turn those mobilised in the face of an international crisis into the regular core of the volunteering workforce for years to come. We also know that many of those who have come forward during the crises may be feeling demotivated having been underutilised up to this point.

    This first VCN to be held since the outbreak is designed to provide an opportunity for us to come together to take stock of the way volunteering has changed in the past few months, draw out any lessons to be learned and to look forward to the challenges and opportunities in involving volunteers in our work in the months and years to come.

    Please register via the button below and further details and joining instructions will be sent in due course.

    Register Here

  • Thu
    10:00 - 11:30Online via Zoom

    Please join us on 24 September 2020 for our AGM, where we’ll discuss the successes and challenges of the last 12 months, and how we see the next 12 progressing.

    We welcome you all, in order to receive the meeting invite please call 0118 956 0050 or contact

    We look forward to (virtually) seeing you there.

  • Thu
    12:50 - 14:30Online via Zoom

    Our quarterly Ready Friends Befriending Forums are for anyone in Reading taking action on loneliness and social isolation.

    Even during lockdown and this shaky period of ‘lockdown-easing’, hundreds of Reading’s voluntary and community groups have shone brightly, quickly moving their activities and support online and over the telephone to help the most vulnerable, who have been isolated and often lonely. But, what if you don’t speak English, or read in your own language – or you can’t use the internet?

    At this Befriending Forum, we will hear from Reading Community Learning Centre and other local groups supporting people who speak other languages and we’ll identify the challenges and opportunities for improving access for everyone in Reading to the amazing variety of community support and activity.

    Please join us on Zoom at 13:00 on Thursday September 24.

    Please book on eventbrite using the link below, where you will also find the Zoom link and guidance for using Zoom:

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