Events and activities during Coronavirus

Reading Council delivers and facilitates a wide variety of events and activities annually throughout the year.   We are currently planning the best way forward in delivering events across the Borough throughout 2021 in line with current government guidance.  We are currently receiving a large number of enquiries from individuals and groups regarding the possibility to host events and public engagement activities in our parks and open spaces, both at this current time and also later in the year. 

Where it is safe and appropriate to do so, we are looking at honouring bookings from 2020 and hosting new bookings for 2021 by delivering activities later this year (from May 2021). Where activities are going ahead, there are a host of additional measures and risk assessments that need to be completed and officers are also scheduling visits to the activities to see that they are being delivered safely and appropriately and in line with agreed management plans.

Council run events

We have taken the difficult decision to cancel all Council organised public events due to take place up until May 2021. Our events programme will either be taken online or will be moved to a date later in the year (following the receipt of updated government guidance).

Events bookings in Parks and Open Spaces

Casual Use

The parks and gardens of the Reading Borough are provided to be used by the public in a casual / informal manner for their leisure activities following all Government guidance and any covid related restrictions that may be in place.

Please note that there is potential for planned/booked event activity at sites at certain times during the year and you would need to ensure that your activities were not prohibitive to others using the parkland.

Formal Hire and Use

If you wished to have more formally organised activities in our parks and open spaces then you’d be able to book that through Reading Borough Council Leisure & Recreation Department by emailing rsl.enquiries@reading.gov.uk

A potential fee would be applicable for the use of a parkland site for your activities – this would be confirmed once more detail regarding your activity was received. Should Government guidelines allow for your event or activity to go ahead, we’ll be requesting that all bookings submit a COVID compliant safety plan. As a minimum your COVID plans should include how you plan to;

  • Have NHS Track and Trace practices in place
  • Monitor numbers of people attending the event or activity and managing capacity’s
  • Monitor and ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to from within the event or activity boundaries
  • Any cleaning or hygiene practices related to COVID

A separate risk assessment will be required with all COVID detail included. All updated detail on what you will need to adhere to can of course be found on https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Ahead of any proposed event, we would require evidence of public liability insurance (minimum £5 million cover) and would need to approve the practicalities of activities and ensure government guidelines allow.

Photographs

You would be very welcome to attend sites for photographs. We do not permit the use of confetti during this activity, nor could we permit the consumption of alcohol without a formal agreement or relevant licence in place.

As a public space, we may receive booking enquires for sites and there may also be other park users onsite that day or other activities taking place on specific areas of sites.

BBQ

Please also note that unfortunately due to damages to grounds, waste created and safety concerns raised; BBQs are not permitted in any of Reading’s parks or open spaces unless they are part of a more formally organised community activity (a church fete or community fun day for example). Where BBQs form part of these events we ask for evidence of public liability insurance, food hygiene certificates and hand wash facilities.

We would advise casual visitors to the parks to bring a picnic instead, Government restrictions allowing.

Street Party applications

We are currently  not accepting any street party applications but hope to be able to reopen the application process in late May and will update the website with application details as soon as it’s possible to deliver these in a safe and manageable way.

2021 Events Programme

We are looking to re-establish event programming in 2021 with the addition of up to date COVID risk assessments and possible amended operations, these events will include Council run events such as the Reading Children’s Festival, Water Fest and Armed Forces Day. 

As a Local Authority we are closely monitoring Coronavirus developments and are following government guidance. For up to date information regarding Coronavirus please visit gov.uk/coronavirus.

We hope everyone will understand our priority needs to be the safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.