News from Reading Neighbourhood Network
News compiled on 1 June 2020
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
  • Resources to help organisations plan for the road ahead

    30 May 2020

    News from Reading Voluntary Action

    We have taken a closer look at the government’s recovery strategy and this article highlights some key things for your organisation to think about when planning your services for the coming months and links to some useful resources to help you assess risk.

    A phased recovery

    The government’s recovery strategy includes a phased approach to returning to life as close to normal as possible. As part of this strategy, the government is currently adopting a ‘stay alert’ approach, which means that social contact is still limited. The strategy sets out three phases for recovery but this is very much subject to the rate of infection decreasing, therefore the timeline is flexible and restrictions may increase again if the rate of infection increases. This infographic from the Institute for Government helpfully sets out the three phases of recovery.  We are currently in Phase 2 ‘Smarter Controls’.

    This is a cautious road map. Some key dates, however, are as follows:

    -For the foreseeable future, individuals should continue to work from home where possible. This includes those working or volunteering for charities and community groups.

    -The earliest schools will re-open is 1 June and there is additional guidance for educational settings. This should also be considered by charities working in an educational setting.

    -Charity shops fit into non-essential retail, therefore the earliest they may re-open is 1 June.

    -Cafes (including those run by charities) fit into the hospitality sector and the earliest they may re-open is 4 July.

    All of the above is subject to change, and if after lifting some restrictions the government sees an increase in the rate of infections it may increase restrictions again. Therefore charities should include alternative scenarios in their planning.

    Protecting those who are more vulnerable

    The government has outlined groups of people who should take additional care as they are more at risk from coronavirus.

    The first group are those who are more clinically vulnerable to coronavirus and should therefore take care to minimise contact with others outside their households, however, they do not necessarily need to be shielded. These individuals include: those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women.

    The second group of people are those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, who are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact with those outside their households, this is know as ‘shielding’.

    Charities and community groups providing adapted services to individuals in these categories may be able to access funding to combat loneliness and isolation. One way of doing this may be through video conferencing or other remote methods. If you need assistance or advice on how to do this, do get in touch with us at RVA.

    Many charities and voluntary groups have adapted their services to protect those most vulnerable. See here for an update on services and contact if you wish to provide updates on your services.

    Thinking ahead and risk assessing

    You may be using this time to plan ahead and assess the risk for when you may be able to re-open your premises. This is a legal duty that organisations have towards their employees and volunteers to keep them safe and below are some useful resources to help you.

    Resource 1: The Health and Safety Executive have produced this guidance to help you consult with your workers and staff about re-opening premises. It covers the six areas below and there are helpful questions to help you think through any adjustments you may need to consult with your staff and volunteers on and then adopt, to make your premises Covid-19 secure: Social distancing, organising your workplace, cleaning and sanitising, information and guidance, wellbeing and support, and helpful resources.

    Resource 2: The government has produced these eight sector specific guidelines. In particular, the following may be helpful to voluntary and community groups:

    Guidance for offices and contact centres. Useful for charities who normally operate from a physical premises and have an office or somewhere where they deliver services.

    Guidance for those who work within, deliver or visit people in their homes. This may be useful if your normal services include visiting service users in their own home.

    Guidance for those who work from vehicles. This could be useful if your normal services include driving service users.

    Guidance for restaurants offering take away or delivery. This could be useful if your normal services involve serving food and drink, such as lunch clubs, cafes, or food for the homeless or vulnerable families.

    We would recommend reviewing your plans regularly and in line with any further updates from the government. If you need assistance with this, please do get in touch with us.

    The government has recently added loss of smell as a symptom of coronavirus and published further guidance for employers here.

    Further resources and support

    NCVO Blog: The government’s Covid-19 strategy, implications for charities

    The Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy

    If you would like advice and support on any of the points in this article, do get in touch at

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  • Reading Transport Strategy 2036 – Statutory Consultation

    29 May 2020 Reading Transport Strategy 2036 - Statutory Consultation

    News from: Reading Borough Council

    Transport matters to all of us. It connects us with our workplaces, schools, friends and families. It affects our health, the air we breathe and the streets where we live. It helps our economy to grow and our town to thrive, and it can make the environment around us clean and friendly or dirty and dangerous.

    Over the summer of 2019 RBC ran a consultation to get your input to help develop the new transport strategy for Reading and more than 3,500 of you got involved through events, drop in sessions, school workshops and the online survey.

    RBC have now used your feedback to shape their draft Reading Transport Strategy 2036. This is now your chance to comment – to let RBC know where they have got it right, and where there are alternatives that should be consider to help deliver the transport infrastructure and investment that Reading needs.

    The consultation is open until 30 August 2020. For more information or to take part see

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  • Young people and coronavirus – share our survey about lockdown life in Reading

    28 May 2020 Young people and coronavirus – share our survey about lockdown life in Reading

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    Reading Voluntary Action and the University of Reading want to understand how coronavirus and living in lockdown has been affecting young people in Reading. We want to know how we can improve local services to meet the needs that are emerging as a result of Covid-19. Young people aged 11 to 19 are invited to take part in a survey to let us know about their views and experiences.

    Please share the link to the survey and encourage young people you know or work with to take part:

    The survey closes on Friday 12 June 2020. It follows on from the Youth Action Team’s Our Reading, Our Future questionnaire at the beginning of year, the results of which will be published soon.

    If you have any questions about either survey, please contact RVA’s Youth Project Coordinator, Charlotte Netherton-Sinclair, by email:

    Continue reading →
  • Lockdown learning with the WEA

    27 May 2020 Lockdown learning with the WEA

    News from: Reading Workers’ Education Association (WEA)

    Since March, the WEA have moved quickly to move their courses on line. Over 700 tutors have now participated in a comprehensive training programme, and there are now over 500 courses up and running, including ESOL, Community Interpreting and a wide range of community learning courses which WEA are delivering free of charge this summer. In addition to formal courses the WEA has also extended their offer to include informal drop-in and taster sessions.

    Participants can join one of our regular sessions for some bite-size learning or even simply a chat and the chance to make a connection. We have had extremely positive feedback from those taking part and it has been a great way of gaining an insight into what our students value most. You can find out more here:

    For the autumn term we will be organising face-to-face courses with community partners in local venues as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. In the meantime, we will be continuing and expanding our online offer. This will include:

    -Online courses developed with partners to meet local needs, which bring together students linked to your organisation.
    -Online community learning courses in a wide range of subject areas open to adults eligible for funding from across England.
    -A national online programme of accredited and specialist courses.

    Alongside this we are also producing a range of resources for students who are unable to access online learning including newsletters and distance learning offers which we’d be happy to discuss.

    Do have a look at the website to see what’s on offer at or contact Joe Carter at

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  • RVA launches digital inclusion survey

    25 May 2020 RVA launches digital inclusion survey

    News from: Reading Voluntary Action

    The Get Online Reading project has now been going for over five years. In that time we have seen over 5000 visitors at 1200+ drop-in sessions where we help people to get online using a computer, smartphone or tablet.

    With the current Covid-19 situation it has been necessary to discontinue drop-in sessions. Since this is likely to continue for some months, we need to look at innovative ways to help Reading’s digitally excluded people get the most benefit from the internet while maintaining social distancing.

    There will be many people around Reading that have been severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis for whom not being able to make the most of access to the internet will have made things worse. We have been offering email and telephone support to clients on request, but would like to develop the Get Online project in new ways and promote it more widely.

    The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Everyone is invited to give us their views, whether associated with the Get Online project or not. The results will be published and discussed at an online conference on Tuesday 23 June – details and instructions for joining will be sent out soon.

    We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to give us your views. The survey is at and the closing date for responses is Friday 12 June 2020.

    Continue reading →

Upcoming events
  • Thu
    10:00 - 11:15Online via Zoom

    Are you a trustee or manager of a charity or community group in Reading? Following on from our recent survey to Reading’s groups, we are launching a series of online, interactive sessions to help you with running your charity during the pandemic.

    The first session will look at Governance and Planning and cover:

    1. The role of trustees in governance and a quick recap of trustee duties.*
    2. Charity commission guidance issued to charities during the pandemic.
    3. Planning for the road ahead – what to keep doing and how to plan for various scenarios your charity might face.
    4. Break-out sessions to discuss the above with other trustees and managers.
    5. Q&A and wrap up.

    You may also like to view this free recorded webinar from NCVO that we have previously shared on a similar topic. However, don’t worry if that is not possible as we will recap salient points for you. In this session, the focus will be to give you an opportunity to discuss what is working, what are the challenges and to give scenario planning a go. So if you’re a manager or trustee of a charity or community group in Reading and wondering how to approach the road ahead, or would like to share what’s working, come along and take part.

    Please note that the session will be available for a maximum of 10 attendees to enable as much interaction as possible and we ask that a maximum of 2 people attend from one charity or community group. If there is further demand, we can hold another session.

    The session will be facilitated by Herjeet Randhawa, RVA’s Advice Worker. Herjeet has a background in Legal and Governance, and supports charities to work towards good governance as well as running the advice service and overseeing training.

    We will also be holding further sessions on other topics identified in our survey, such as adapting your services, financial planning, fundraising, buildings and risk assessments. Dates to be announced shortly.

    *Please also keep an eye out on our news page for our traditional training including trustee training, treasurer training and safeguarding.

    We look forward to seeing you on Zoom. If you are unsure on how to use Zoom, take a look at this free video tutorial and don’t worry if this will be your first Zoom session, we’ll talk you through it so you can take part.

    Please book your free place at

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