News from: Reading Borough Council
by Ebony George
We would like to pay tribute to one of Reading’s community champions, Philip Kallay, who passed away after a short illness on 5 January 2021 aged 46.
Philip moved with his family to the Hexham area in 2010 and became an active member of the Hexham Community Association (HCA) after making friends with the then Chair, Surjit “Ken” Kainth. Together they negotiated a new lease for the Hexham Community Centre, secured funding for centre improvements and supported the Whitley Big Local project (now WCDA). After being mentored by Ken, Philip became Chair of HCA shortly before Ken passed away in December 2016.
Philip led HCA through a period of change, consulting residents on new activities and projects including an over 50’s lunch club, conversation clubs, IT drop-in sessions and continued the much-loved summer fun days and Christmas parties.
Philip was a keen advocate for young people in his community. Along with dedicated volunteers and trustees, in 2018 they restarted a popular youth club and music technology sessions, with young people achieving nationally recognised arts awards. Philip had recently completed a Masters degree focusing on restorative youth justice and was developing a project due to start in March 2020, in partnership with Brighter Futures For Children, but this was postponed when the Covid-19 restrictions closed public access to the Hexham Community Centre.
With the centre closed, Philip and the HCA volunteers used the opportunity to do some outreach with young people and older residents in the Hexham and Staverton Road areas, delivering food parcels and checking in on vulnerable neighbours.
The Hexham community has lost a welcoming face, a dedicated Pastor, an enthusiastic community activist and most of all, a friend. We would like to send our condolences to his wife and family, and to all his friends at the Hexham Community Association and the New Life Kingdom Church.