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Our Mayor

Councillor Paul Woodward was elected Mayor in May 2019.

Cllr Woodward was born in Berkshire and has lived in, and close to, Reading since 1982. He has worked in Reading since leaving Bulmershe College in 1990. Paul is a keen follower of Reading FC and a lover of Jazz.

Our Mayor worked as a Careers Adviser for many years, for the last few years working with teenagers within the youth justice system, working in prisons and running crime diversion projects.

Cllr Woodward won Church Ward from the Conservatives in 2011. He has been Vice Chair of the Reading Borough Council Licensing Committee, and a former member of the Planning and Transport Committees.  He was also a group whip and a non-executive Director of Reading Transport Ltd.

Mayor Paul Woodward
Mayor Paul Woodward


The Mayor represents the council at events, welcoming guests and visiting local organisations. He also chairs full council meetings. The Deputy Mayor (Cllr David Stevens) may stand in if the Mayor is not available.

Invite the Mayor to an event

Contact the Mayor's secretary with the date of your event. If there is a space in the Mayor's diary, you can invite him to your event


The Mayor is spending his term in office raising money for three charities - Sport in Mind, Reading Family Aid & South Central Ambulance Charity.

Reading Family Aid

Reading Family Aid help Reading children living in poverty and with other disadvantages. They may be a family affected by drug, alcohol or physical abuse, chronic illness or disability of either the parents or the children; they may be homeless; they may be a one parent family where the parent is unable to work; or they may be a family where the child is the primary carer. 
Reading Family Aid distributes toys at Christmas to children aged 0-16 through the Toys & Teens Appeal. If funds permit, they also provide outings throughout the year for children and their families who couldn't afford to go otherwise. In 2018 over 1,700 children received a sack of toys at Christmas as a result of the Toys & Teens Appeal. They also took 2 coaches of local disadvantaged families to Odds Farm for the day, arranged an outing for 100 children on the autistic spectrum and their families to Camp Mohawk, and took 300 children and their families to Bournemouth beach and the RockReef centre on the pier! 

Reading seems so prosperous that many people might find it hard to imagine there are desperately deprived families here. But in 2016, 24% of Reading's children were living in poverty - that's 10,181 children (source: The End Child Poverty Coalition). All the families referred to the group are in genuine need. They would not have any Christmas presents and would not have a day out otherwise. Reading Family Aid aims to offer them some relief from the harsh day-to-day realities of their lives - some of the extras that social services and other agencies can't provide. Their motto is: Putting smiles on children's faces.

The charity is run entirely by volunteers and they have no premises or equipment so most of the money donated goes directly towards putting those smiles on faces.

South Central Ambulance Charity

The charity exists to help our local ambulance service help our community, and the money raised goes towards the following:

  • Training and equipping volunteer community first responders (CFRs) - the people in your street who have been trained to provide a lifesaving response to their neighbours while an ambulance is on its way. The charity already has over 1000 volunteers trained to start saving lives while an ambulance is on its way and last year they went to 25,836 calls for help. Every volunteer costs about £2000 to train and equip and we rely 100% on donations to the charity to fund this activity.
  • Training and equipping communities to save lives by providing more life-saving equipment (such as public access defibrillators), and giving local people the confidence to use them. We want to make sure that no-one in your region is more than 8 minutes away from a public access defibrillator, and we need to raise £1850 for every one we install.
  • Enabling South Central Ambulance Service to say thank you to the men and women who provide our emergency care by investing in their ideas to develop the care they give in ways that go over and above what current NHS funding allows. For example, they wish to raise funds for more Lucas Devices across the SCAS regions. The LUCAS is a portable, easy-to-use device that delivers automated, guidelines-consistent chest compressions to improve blood flow in victims of cardiac arrest. LUCAS performs at a rate of 100 compressions per minute with a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches.
  • SCA charity have recently raised funds to equip all frontline staff with Beanie Hats as these are not able to funded by SCAS, and as you can imagine sometimes being outside with a fallen patient for quite some time or with a mental health patient for hours can get very cold.

As you can see the funds this charity raise are used for many causes from Life Saving Lucas's to New Tables for Staff to sit and eat a meal at. Also this year's restart a heart day saw us train over 10,000 Children in CPR across the South Central Ambulance Service Region.

Sport in Mind

Sport in Mind are a fantastic local charity making a huge difference to peoples lives in Berkshire and Reading in particular.

They are an independent mental health charity and were founded in Berkshire in 2010. They have a simple mission:

"To improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems through sport and physical activity"

The charity has already become the UK's leading mental health sports charity delivering physical activity projects in partnership with the NHS in order to promote mental wellbeing, improve physical health, combat social isolation, and empower people to move their lives forward in a positive direction.

The charity's services which are co-designed by people with personal experience of mental health problems and healthcare professionals have supported over 10,000 local people. 

The charity's work is delivered to support the recovery and the charity believes everyone should have the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity irrespective of how unwell they are.

There are still many common misconceptions about mental illness in society today and Sport in Mind use the power of sport to bring people together to talk about mental health and change attitudes.

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