News from Reading Neighbourhood Network – 25 April 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
  • Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme – limit has risen to £30

    25 April 2019

    From April 2019 the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) limit has increased from £20 to £30. This means charities and community amateur sports clubs can claim top-up payments on small donations. You do not need to know the identity of the donors or collect Gift Aid declarations for small donations.

    For more information about GASDS and how to claim, see the website at

  • Age UK Berkshire launches new Friendly Gardeners Group

    18 April 2019

    News from: Age UK Berkshire

    Age UK Berkshire are delighted to announce the launch of a new Friendly Gardeners Group, which will start on the 26 April 2019 at the Friends Meeting House on Church Street. The group has been funded by The Southall Trust, Yew Tree trust and Cadbury Trust.

    The group will meet every Friday morning for two hours until October 2019 and will be run by Christina (a qualified Horticultural therapist) who will support the group with gardening as a means to improve health and wellbeing, as well as making friends.

    There are spaces for 8 people to join the group. It is designed to be a drop-in group but people may attend every week.

    Further information:
    -Fridays, 10:00 to 12:00.
    -Friends Meeting House (2 Church Street, Reading RG1 2SB).
    -First session free, then suggested donation of £3 each week.

    To find out more, call 01189 594242 or email

  • National Lottery Community Fund funding surgery

    17 April 2019

    Does your voluntary or community group need funding for a specific project?

    The National Lottery Community Fund funding officer for Reading will be offering one-to-one sessions to Reading voluntary and community groups on Thursday 27 June 2019 at the RVA offices, on the Third Floor of the Central Library.

    At your one-to-one, you will have the have the opportunity to canvas your idea for funding, whether it is for an existing service or an idea about a new service or activity. Please note that the National Lottery Community Fund funding officer cannot help you fill in the application form, but will give you general guidance and tips.

    This event is limited to Reading-based charities and community groups. More than one person may attend the session, but please only book one session per organisation.

    For more information and to book a session see the website at

  • Ready Friends Toolkit to be launched at next Befriending Forum

    11 April 2019

    Anyone interested in reducing loneliness and social isolation is welcome at the next Befriending Forum on Thursday 16 May 2019 from 12:30 until 16:00 on the Third Floor of Reading Central Library. This forum will see the launch of the brand-new Ready Friends Toolkit. Also on the agenda:

    -Transport and its role in reducing loneliness and social isolation.
    -Celebrating, promoting and learning from local befrienders.
    -Good news and information about what’s happening locally.

    The event is for anyone from local communities, groups and organisations in Reading and starts with a free lunch.

    If you would like to find out more about this event and about the Ready Friends project, please have a look on the website at, where you will find the agenda and registration details.

  • Win £1,000 for a Berkshire charity

    10 April 2019

    Three £1,000 prizes are up for grabs as Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) launches its 2019 Vital Signs survey. BCF is asking people in Berkshire to spend five minutes giving their opinion of life in the county. As a thank you, they can nominate a charity to win one of the £1,000 prizes.

    You can take part in the survey online at

    Last year, three local groups – Autism Berkshire, Family Friends Windsor and Maidenhead, and Interakt – each received one of the £1,000 prizes. Now in its sixth year, Vital Signs uses the views of the local community, along with other research, to enable BCF to produce a community ‘health-check’ report.

    The results drive BCF’s fundraising. Last year’s Vital Signs reported that a safe home, good health and secure employment are all linked and underpin wellbeing, so BCF launched ‘Vital for Berkshire – Homes, Health and Work’. This campaign has already funded over 20 local groups that provide vital support including counselling, accessible transport, crisis support, education or training, health coaching, supporting people back into back into employment and tackling homelessness.

  • Looking for funding? Pitch to Reading Soup

    4 April 2019

    Reading Soup still have two slots for community organisations to pitch for funding at their next Reading Soup event, on May 1.

    Reading Soup is a grassroots, community fundraising organisation supporting community projects in the Reading area. They’re inspired by the original Detroit SOUP, and are run by a committee of five volunteers. They hold fundraising dinners in Reading every other month.

    Community groups who pitch could benefit from around £200-300 of funding from their crowdfunding pot. Apply to pitch at Reading Soup (

    For more information about Reading Soup and how pitching works see the website at

  • Local charity celebrates 15 years of reading with youngsters

    3 April 2019

    News from: ABC to read

    Local charity ABC to Read is celebrating 15 years of providing trained volunteers to support Berkshire children who are struggling to read. Thousands of local youngsters have benefited from the scheme over that time, improving not only their reading ability but their enjoyment of the pastime as well as their general attitudes and confidence.

    To celebrate its 15th birthday, the charity hopes to help a record number of children develop a love of reading to enhance their lives. Plans include supporting a school and orphanage in Malawi by setting up a library, as well as launching a Reading Buddy workshop in secondary schools, training sixth form pupils to support younger ones, thus improving literacy attainment and school cohesion.

    ABC to Read’s model of assigning a one-to-one volunteer mentor to work with children identified by their schools as struggling most with their reading, is achieving excellent results with 97% of the children who benefit from an ABC to Read mentor improving in their attitudes towards reading. The result comes from the charity’s most recent annual report, which also highlights that 93% of the youngsters working with them have improved in their reading accuracy.

    There are still spaces available for any new volunteers to take part in training and for schools to sign up to the scheme. For more information about training days or joining the scheme as a school or volunteer mentor, contact:

  • BCF – Funds for the Elderly – Open for Applications until 1 May 2019

    2 April 2019

    Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) are offering grants of up to £5,000 to charity and community groups for projects working with the elderly to improve their health and well-being, access to facilities, advice and training; or to overcome their problems of illness, injury, disability, bereavement or financial difficulty.

    Application forms must be completed on-line and submitted along with:-
    1. Governing documents (i.e. constitution or Articles of Association)
    2. Latest Annual Accounts
    3. Safeguarding Policy

    Closing date for applications: 09:00 on 1 May 2019.

    For more information and online application, visit the BCF website at

  • Participate in nutrition studies at the University of Reading

    28 March 2019

    The University of Reading is internationally recognised for its excellence in research on the relationship between diet and chronic disease. They are currently looking for volunteers to participate in two studies.

    ENVAL study: Would you like to test a diet app developed by researchers from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences? In this study, participants will fill out two online food and drink questionnaires that are 2 weeks apart and take 30 to 40 minutes. A small group will also complete a food diary for 3 days (with kitchen scales provided).

    They are looking for adults without food allergies or intolerances, or diabetes, and who are not following a specialised diet (pregnant, vegan, weight-loss, athlete, etc), or receiving dietary advice from a medical professional, dietitian, etc. For further details, please visit or email

    Whey2glo Study: Researchers at the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition are currently investigating how dairy and plant proteins control blood sugar levels and vascular health, and they are looking for participants with above average blood sugar levels for their study.

    Volunteers are reimbursed for their time. If you are interested please email or call them on 0118 378 7771. Find out more on the Hugh Sinclair Unit Facebook page.

  • Take part in RBC’s consultation on their Statement of Community Involvement

    28 March 2019

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    Reading Borough Council has published a discussion paper on the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) for consultation. The SCI is a planning document that details how consultation and community involvement on plans and major developments will be carried out. RBC’s most recent SCI was adopted in March 2014. The council is now considering whether there is a need to revise the SCI.

    The consultation is open until 10 May 2019. The council is now seeking your views on the proposals set out in the discussion paper. More information is available on the council website. Copies of the SCI discussion paper and the March 2014 SCI are also available to view during normal opening hours at libraries within the Borough and the Civic Offices in Bridge Street.

    You can complete the survey online or send written responses to or Planning Policy Team, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU by 17:00 on 10 May 2019.

Upcoming events
  • Fri
    09:30 - 11:30Southcote Community Centre

    Coronation Sqaure, Reading RG30 3QP

    A support group for family members who have children/young people with additional needs living within the community of Southcote.

    A safe and supportive space for sharing experiences and gaining support with the unique challenges faced by families of children with additional needs.

    Each session will include a half hour talk about being a parent of a child with additional needs. The remainder of the session will be for discussion of the topic and social support time.

    • Refreshments provided
    • Children welcome under parent’s supervision
    • Topics for future sessions to be decided, after discussion with the group

    For booking and further information, please contact Charlie Taylor via email at or phone on 07810 689679.

  • Sat
    23:00Locations around Caversham

    Be part of Caversham's first Green Ticket Trail!

    Sellers: Time for a Spring clean? Do you have a house full of items which you would love to sell? No time to individually list them online? Why not host a Green Ticket sale from the convenience of your garage, driveway, porch or front garden for just £10? Register online at and receive all you'll need to run a successful sale, plus you'll be supporting a great charity - Helen and Douglas House. Once registered, on 27 April set up and sell.

    Buyers: Put the date in your diary. Discover many treasures along the trail and bag yourself a bargain or two. Meet your local neighbours and enjoy a different shopping experience. You’ll receive a map, for £1, with all the sale locations on it and discover pre-loved treasures and fabulous finds along the trail!

    It's all about selling something you don't want to someone who does - in your local community!

    More information can be found at

  • Sun
    11:30 - 16:00Great Expectations Hotel

    33 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS

    Come along and find out about LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) Come and meet LETS members over a cuppa. We trade with each other for "Bricks" - for instance someone may need their computer fixing or you may need your lawn mowing. You will need to have offers and wants ready for joining!

    Well we all have things we want don't we? We all have things to offer - our skills, sewing, gardening, material things we don't need; we could feed a cat, water a garden, take away rubbish, offer transport - the list is endless. LETS is about supporting each other without money and socialising and working together.

    So do join us on Saturday 28 April in The Christmas room at The Great Expectations Hotel, we look forward to meeting you!

    For more information please contact Gabrielle on 07802 800276.

  • 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

  • Wed
    19:30 - 21:00Reading International Solidarity Centre

    35-39 London street, Reading RG1 4PS

    Between 1995 - 2015 worldwide production of palm oil quadrupled. It is expected to quadruple again by 2050. Oil palm plantations account for 10% of all global cropland. It is a miracle crop for the producers. It gives the highest yield per acre of any oil seed crop.

    What is driving the massive increase in demand? What effect is it having on people and planet? What can we do?

    We will have a short film and talk followed by discussion.

    For more information please contact Jackie Oversby by email at

  • Thu
    12:00 - 14:00Reading Voluntary Action

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

    As part of this year’s Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June) and the Reading Volunteer Awards 2019, Reading Voluntary Action will be working with partners to curate an exhibition on the theme of volunteering. We are seeking creative representations of what volunteering means to those involved in, or benefiting from, voluntary work.

    Find out more about the exhibition at or by emailing

    If you’d like to get involved, we’re also holding a free drop-in workshop at Reading Central Library on 2 May 2019. The workshop will be led by artist Kate Shorey, who will be creating a volunteering wordgram. We’d love you to come along and contribute a word, phrase, or idea – or even work on your own submission!

    Refreshments will be provided. Please register online at

  • Fri
    10:00 - 13:00Berkshire West Your Way

    1A Rupert Square, Reading RG1 3HE

    Would you like to better manage your mental health and wellbeing?
    Would you like to be part of a supportive peer group?

    This group will provide a safe and supportive environment where participants will support each other and learn from each other to build on and develop skills to manage their own wellbeing.

    The group will run from 10:00 to 13:00 at Berkshire West Your Way on the following dates:

    • Friday 3 May
    • Friday 10 May
    • Friday 17 May
    • Friday 24 May

    If you would like to find out more or register for a place please contact Carole Connolly at Berkshire West Your Way, either by phone on 01189 660240 or email at

  • Wed
    13:00 - 15:00Elevate 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

  • Thu
    10:00 - 12:00Green Health, Well Centre

    Dawlish Road, Whitley, Reading RG2 7SD

    As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (13 to 19 May 2019) Green Health Thames Valley is delighted to invite you to an open morning on Thursday 16 May.

    It’s been another busy year with our clients designing and creating our new sensory garden which gave them a real sense of ownership and achievement.

    Drop in between 10:00 and 12:00 for coffee and pastries. Meet some of our gardeners, see our new sensory garden, and find out how we use horticultural therapy to help improve mental health.

    Please let us know if you are attending by emailing by Tuesday 14 May.

  • Sat
    11:00 - 13:00St Michael's Church Hall

    Corner of Routh Lane and The Meadway, Tilehurst, Reading RG30 4JY

    St Michael’s Church annual Spring Fayre and Plant Sale is on Saturday 18 May with plants, a hamper raffle, toasted sandwiches and pancakes.

    All services and events at St Michael’s are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

  • Sun
    12:30 - 16:30Reading International Solidarity Centre

    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.

  • Tue
    14:45 - 16:00Reading Voluntary Action

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

    Matt Taylor from Age UK Reading is a Dementia Champion and will be delivering this free training session for anyone from Reading’s community and voluntary sector wanting to become a Dementia Friend, as part of Dementia Action Week.

    What is a Dementia Friend?
    A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community.Too many people affected by dementia feel that society fails to understand the condition they live with. Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding, so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.

    What does a Dementia Friend do?
    Dementia Friends help people living with dementia by taking actions – both big and small.These actions don’t have to be time-consuming. From visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue, every action counts!

    Dementia Friends can also get involved with things like volunteering, campaigning or wearing a badge to raise awareness. Dementia Friends is open to anyone who wants to help people with dementia in their community.

  • Wed
    10:00 - 16:00Museum of English Rural Life

    Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX

    This drop-in awareness event is part of The MERL and Reading Museum’s Cultural Commissioning partnership delivering ‘ageing well’ programmes.

    As part of Dementia Action Week 2019, The Reading Dementia Action Alliance (of which The MERL is a member) is coordinating the event to raise awareness of dementia and increase knowledge of services and support available in our town. Alongside heritage and culture, we will be showcasing singing groups and physical activities and other services on offer to help people to live well with their dementia and support for their carers, families and loved ones.

    The event is open to anyone wishing to learn more about dementia, professionals and individuals living with dementia and their carers.

    Throughout the day:

    • Quiet Zone with dementia friendly helpers
    • Companion tour of The MERL (30 mins)
    • Reminiscence sessions (book on the day)
    • Gardening sessions with The MERL
    • Reading Voluntary Action Information hub

    Download event leaflet

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