Success stories from the 2022/23 Small Grant Fund Round 2

The Council allocated £100k for small grants to the voluntary and community sector for the Small Grants Fund 2022/23 (Round 2). Applications were invited for community-led activities that support thriving communities: addressing the impact of poverty and supporting mental well-being in Reading’s most deprived neighbourhoods and communities. We received sixty-nine applications, and twenty-four bidders were successfully awarded grants. The project funding was for twelve months.

The projects below illustrate the range of activities and benefits delivered to local communities with financial support from the Small Grant Fund.

  • Lifespring Church based at the Pavilion 143-145 Oxford Road awarded £4,154 to provide an After School Warm Hub for local families experiencing fuel poverty. Families registered for the hub and usually between 5 and 10 families attended each day. The Warm Hub Project operated from January to March 2023. The project supported eighteen families, nineteen adults and thirty-one children.
  • Dingley’s Promise awarded £1,929 to provide four-holiday playschemes for children under five with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. As a result of this funding, four successful playschemes were delivered, two of these in the Easter Holidays and two in the Half Term Holiday. In total thirty-five children were supported via this project.
  •  ABC to Read awarded £3,000 to operate the Raising Literacy Attainment Project to recruit, train, and support ten new volunteers to give one-to-one mentoring to children who struggle to read and raise confidence and self-esteem while allowing volunteers to gain work experience in a school environment.
    The project delivered the workshops to fifty students from Thameside Primary and Sonning Common Primary providing them with leadership opportunities so that older students can support younger students for whom reading is a challenge.
  • Harbour Sports Club CIC awarded £5,000 to provide a comprehensive half marathon training programme “Reading 21” aimed at enhancing the physical and mental wellbeing of new immigrants to Reading. The project helped over fifty migrant runners train for the Reading Half Marathon. A survey response from participants after the Reading Half Marathon showed that 70% of respondents said they achieved their personal best after the training.
  • Home Start awarded £3,838 to deliver and extend a post-natal (mothers with babies up to two years) six-week course based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) techniques. The project aimed to provide a safe space to encourage the mothers to work towards self-driven actions to continue positively and independently. This project supported six adults and eight children.
  • Berkshire Vision awarded £1,318.06 to support Reading-based members to participate in the Children, Young People and Families Activities Programme. Activities include Camp Mohawk (a multi-functional day centre for children with special needs and their families), rock climbing, ice skating, visits to adventure playgrounds, theatre visits with sensory tours, arts, and crafts, baking and more. The project aims were to offer opportunities to visually impaired children to engage in sports and educational activities while having fun. Seventy-one children from Berkshire were supported across six hundred and eighty-six attendances. Twenty of the children were from Reading. About another fifty people were supported as family members of the children participating in the activities.
  • Berkshire Cancer Rehab awarded £720 to pay hall hire for a Cancer Rehab exercise group. The small amount of funding helped people to get more active after a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • Green Health Thames Valley awarded £4,825 to help and support vulnerable people from disadvantaged backgrounds with serious mental illness. In addition to garden therapy, mental therapy workshops were well attended, and clients formed a bond with the therapist which helped them to become more involved in society. Altogether eighteen people benefited from the mental therapy project.
  • The Curious Lounge CIC awarded £5,000 to deliver Digital Skills Training to build confidence through digital skills training. The project supported twenty-five unemployed people who were economically inactive and looking to return to work. The project enhanced their digital skills and confidence and participants also gained a soft skill including understanding emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, and communication.
  • East Reading Festival awarded £5,000 for the hire of equipment, support to performers and general costs for organising the event the event. Between 3,000 and 6,000 people attended the festival. The festival was free for the local community to attend. Those attending the festival enjoyed a variety of ethnic groups displaying their skills and culture. Most importantly the event fostered a sense of belonging and community from whatever background people in East Reading came from. The festival also allowed local performers to display their skills and talent at the event.
  • All Nations Christian Centre awarded £2,500 to deliver the Warm Welcome and Half term hangout projects. Both projects helped to develop relations between the church and community and to support residents and families through a food share scheme, warm spaces, and children’s activities. Between forty and fifty-five people attended Warm Welcome weekly, and Half-term hangout supported fifty-plus children and up to a hundred when families were invited to come together as a part of the hangout project.
  • Weller Centre awarded £3,500 for Menopause Workshops and ongoing Support Group. The workshop aimed to provide information and advice to those going through peri or menopause and their supporters. Health Champions from Weller offered one-to-one sessions to encourage people to attend the workshop to make them comfortable enough to talk and discuss this sensitive topic. The workshop supported one hundred and twenty people in total.
  • St John’s Church Caversham awarded £1,800 to extend their Bereavement course from two to four times per year to meet increased needs. The project aims to provide respite, comfort, and peace for those who are mourning and ensure bereavement support services are made available to all people connected with the church. Six-eight people attended the bereavement course each time supporting twenty-four to thirty-two people in total.
  • Reading Samaritans awarded £5,000 to support their Training and Outreach 2023 project. The aim of the project was to:
    • Increase the volume and reach outreach activities to increase awareness of both the service and the importance of good mental health and wellbeing and reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide.
    • Increase capacity to ensure that people can access support whenever they need it.

      Beneficiaries from this project were three thousand five hundred callers (spread nationally), One hundred and thirty-four volunteers (Reading) and the local community.
  • Chance to Dance Stars CIC awarded £10,000 to support the Adult Special Education Need (SEN) Movement to Music Classes project. Three sessions a week were provided over three and half hours for a year including three new activities Dance, Yoga and Zumba. The project aims were to support the rise in obesity and loneliness in adults with SEN allowing them to keep fit and active, reflecting upon self-worth and mental health. This project supported thirty-four disabled adults and many carers, residential homes, and families.
  • RISC – Food4Families (In partnership with Aisha Masjid & Islamic Centre and Growing Solidarity – Hempen) awarded £10,000 for the Food4fmailies project. The project aims were to: deliver science-themed workshops for one hundred young Muslims (delivered at Aisha Masjid); and publish of good practice manual (leaflets about water-conserving gardening and an exhibition on zero-carbon gardening). This project provided sixty vulnerable people with gardening opportunities over a year and the project supported one thousand people from a wide range of communities to enjoy gardening in a climate-friendly way and access green spaces.
  • Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (Acre) awarded £10,000 for the “Reading Windrush Festival”-A partnership project with Reading Caribbean Association Group. The project aims were to commemorate the seventy-fifth Anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush; educate the Reading society including school children, college, and university students; and celebrate the Windrush Generation’s contribution to the cultural, educational, and socio-economic development of Reading. 
    The Windrush Thanks and Praise event was attended by two hundred delegates and supported and helped bring substantial trade revenue to RBC/Reading Town Hall.
    The Windrush Performance was attended by sixty delegates.
    Windrush Interviews helped 10 Families to tell stories about their Windrush experience. Eighty to hundred people attended the Caribbean Tea & premiere, including the Mayor of Reading. In addition,40+ People have viewed the Windrush photo exhibition. 
  • Reading Islamic Cultural Centre awarded £5,000 to create a safe space for women to use gym facilities and participate in exercise classes, without compromising their religious beliefs or modest dress code. The project successfully delivered women-only fitness sessions between April 2023 and Feb 2024. A female fitness instructor was hired to facilitate sessions to cater to the needs of Muslim women. Over two hundred women signed up and benefited from these sessions.
  •  Oxfordshire Mind/Mind in Berkshire awarded £5,000 to support a school community-based piece of work at Maiden Erlegh in Reading School. The project aims were:
    • To develop a more cheerful outlook towards mental health and well-being in school
    • To create a safe place for peers and teachers to have discussions about mental health and create change for school wellbeing.
    • Better understanding from teachers and peers about differences of experience and identity due to cultural diversity and discrimination.

Overall, the project supported twenty-five members of staff and forty young students.

  • Annual daydream harvest awarded £5,000 for Whitley Carnival Participation and Workshops. The project aims to collaborate with community groups and local primary schools to create processional elements of Whitley Carnival. The project engaged thirty schoolchildren from Christ the King Primary School in the creation of costumes for the carnival. Approximately thirty residents of Dawlish Road helped the project by creating a processional element for the carnival.
  • AutAngel CIC awarded £5,000 to support the local autistic community by providing support groups facilitated by autistic peers. The award helped to run a weekly peer support group. Twenty-seven people in total benefited from this project.
Last updated on 29/04/2024