News from Reading Neighbourhood Network
News compiled on 27 January 2021
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
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News articles
  • Warning about Covid-19 text message scams

    27 January 2021

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    There have been reports of a new scam where a person receives a text saying they need to book a vaccination appointment and it takes them to a fake NHS form which then asks for their bank details to prove their identity. The NHS will never ask for banking information. The scam has been reported in the media here.

    There is a texting scam leaflet from the Government Counter Fraud Function which you can download here

    It lists the top four Covid-19 text message scams as:
    -Fake URL links claiming to link to the GOV.UK website to claim supposed Covid-19 related payment.
    -Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown.
    -Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected.
    -Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank.

    It advises the following steps to verify that a text message is genuine:
    1. Challenge – could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests that don’t feel right. Check GOV.UK to ensure it’s genuine.
    2. Be wary of text messages that try to get you to send money, or important personal information such as bank details or passwords.
    3. Take a moment to stop and think before parting with information to keep you safe or your money.
    4. Use official government websites and refer to ‘Contact Us’ sections of websites to access information and services.

    And if you think you have received a scam message:
    -Don’t Respond
    -Report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud
    -Forward the message to 7726 (‘SPAM’ on a keypad)

    Continue reading →

  • Berkshire Youth Hubs – virtual and telephone-based support platform

    27 January 2021

    News from: Berkshire Youth

    After a successful pilot across West Berkshire and responding to best meet the needs of the local community, Berkshire Youth are delighted to announce the next evolution of the West Berkshire Youth Hub. Their award-winning hub has now been extended across the whole of Berkshire. They hope that the renamed ‘Berkshire Youth Hubs’ will prove just as popular and beneficial for those in the rest of the county.

    The Berkshire Youth Hubs are a virtual and telephone-based support platform with resources and opportunities designed around connecting, listening to and providing solutions for young people as they try to cope with the current lockdown and restrictions. With specific pages for young people, parents/carers and youth workers, users can visit the hub to find links to clubs, activities, careers, counselling services and more which are still available at this time.

    Berkshire Youth Hub website
    -07377 997495
    -01635 889764 (Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00)

    Continue reading →

  • Winter mental health support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities

    26 January 2021

    News from: NHS Berkshire West CCG

    Seven voluntary and community organisations are to share a £20,000 NHS England grant aimed at supporting the mental health of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities (BAMER) over the winter.

    Berkshire West CCG secured the funding and has worked closely with key partners to devise the best ways of allocating the money. Reading Voluntary Action, Involve (Wokingham) and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire have administered and will host the grant which they expect to achieve the following:

    -Raising awareness about psychological access and wellbeing within BAMER communities.
    -Improve more culturally sensitive support in accessing health and social care.
    -Increasing the scope of community support in a bid to prevent mental health crisis and surges of mental health needs.
    -Providing support to BAMER carers looking after a loved one.
    -Directing younger people from BAMER communities to the right support

    The organisation listed below will receive the funding, the list also describes how they will spend the money:
    1. Reading Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality – to fund further outreach work, engagement and raise awareness.
    2. Autism Berkshire and Alafia – for advice and support sessions for parents and carers.
    3. Community United West Berkshire – to fund two online forums with small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) employers and their employees from BAMER communities on their mental well-being.
    4. Reading Community Learning Centre – to expand capacity to support BAMER women with extreme mental health needs.
    5. Sport in Mind – to provide tai chi sessions.
    6. Time to Talk, (a West Berkshire group) – to fund culturally sensitive engagement and counselling for young BAMER adults.
    7. Reading Refugee Support group – to support their work with people who are asylum seekers and in need of mental health support.

    There is a range of other support for people with mental health problems. This includes:
    -NHS talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts offering help with problems like stress, anxiety and depression. People can access the service by visiting their GP or referring themselves online or ringing 03003 652000.
    -Young people aged between 11 and 18 can visit a free, anonymous and confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing support.
    -There is also online support on the NHS mental health and wellbeing website and people can also seek help by going online at NHS 111.
    -In emergency situations or if someone is in immediate danger, people must call 999 straight away.

    Continue reading →

  • Berkshire Community Foundation – Vital for Berkshire Coronavirus Fund – deadline 8 February 2021

    25 January 2021

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    The Vital for Berkshire – Coronavirus Fund is open for grant applications until Monday 8 February 2021 at 10:00. They will be allocating funds to local charities, community and voluntary groups impacted by and working to help people affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in Berkshire. Grants up to a maximum of £10,000 will be considered, subject to funding availability. The aims of the fund are:

    -To help organisations respond to immediate needs, for instance, supporting those suffering hardship as a result of restrictions to normal activity and their short and long-term economic and social consequences.
    -To help stabilise organisations supporting those in need, i.e. short term core cost funds to keep groups and charities afloat.
    -To help organisations adapt to the crisis, i.e. through service enhancement and development, the purchase of equipment, enhancement of skills and capacity, or organisational development.

    Who can apply?
    -Charities, community groups or other not-for-profit organisations who are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
    -Charities, community groups or other not-for-profit organisations who are supporting people affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
    -Small and new groups that are not constituted may apply if they are working with the local CVS, Parish Council or Local Authority. A letter of support or other evidence will need to be provided.

    For further information and how to apply please see the BCF website at

    Continue reading →

  • Charity Commission updates: holding trustee meetings and AGMs

    23 January 2021

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for charities as a result of lockdown 3 as follows:
    -Trustees should hold their trustee meetings online or via telephone, where possible during lockdown.
    -AGMs can continue to be held online (the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 has been extended until 30 March 2020).

    For more details on how to do this, read the updated guidance here (updated on 8 January 2021).

    Further support
    NCVO Coronavirus guidance: Governing your organisation
    -If you would like specific advice for your charity, contact

    Continue reading →

Upcoming events
  • Thu
    11:00 - 12:00Online via Zoom

    In this Zoom session, we will explore how the right volunteering role can play a part in helping to enhance your sense of wellbeing.

    Whether seeking to return to the workplace following a break, looking for your first job or seeking to transfer into a new field, the right volunteering role can prove to be a valuable asset in successfully securing employment.

    Studies suggest that those who volunteer can benefit from a boost to their own wellbeing. This boost can result in an increased sense of happiness and life satisfaction and a reduction in feelings of depression and anxiety.

    After a brief general introduction to volunteering, the session will outline how volunteering can provide you with a unique gateway to accessing the five ways to wellbeing:

    • Give
    • Keep Learning
    • Stay Active
    • Connect
    • Take Notice

    We will then explore how RVA can help you to identify the right role and other services available to support your journey towards wellbeing.

    Sign up HERE to secure your place

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