Community Engagement

Two women and a man smiling into the camera. They are sat around a table with notebooks, a laptop and coffee.
Our Community Research Team planning pilot engagements on Oxford Road

Community engagement is critical to the development of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

We are eager that those who live, work and have connections within the HSHAZ areas take key roles in deciding what happens on the high street and what sort of place it can be.


There are a few ways you can get involved in the HSHAZ programme. From giving your thoughts, to participating in activities, and volunteering when we have call outs. Occasionally we recruit volunteers to support various strands of the project. These opportunities are a shared through our partners The Museum Partnership Reading platform Better Impact.

For more information about attending cultural and community workshops, arts activities and heritage events created as part of the HSHAZ programme, head over to our Take Part page. If you’ve been involved in any HSHAZ activity and want to give your feedback, or if there are no current volunteer roles and you would like to express your interest for future opportunities email our team at

Community engagement – the story so far….

Audio trails

Working with Sound UK we have created two self-guided audio trails for Reading’s High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Each audio trail takes listeners on a journey of discovery. The walks bring hidden histories and stories to life, helping people to see their high street in a new light.

Listeners can take a self-guided route, supported by an illustrated map created for each place. The walks will encourage people to slow down, pause and reflect, and experience their environment in a new way.

Find out more about the audio trails.

Lifespring Stories

Baker Street Productions worked with researchers from the Human Geography Department of Reading University to collect and present Lifespring Stories, a collection of audio interviews with community members along Oxford Road and their interaction with Lifespring Church’s community outreach.

An exhibition of portraits with QR Code links to the audio interviews can be found at The Pavillion in Oxford Road. A travelling and digital exhibition of the work has also included locations such as The Biscuit Factory and Reading Museum.

Find out more about Lifespring Stories.

Retail and marketing workshops

We carried out free workshops for business owners in Reading’s HSHAZ’s to help improve their offerings and marketing. These were delivered by high street expert Graham Soult of Canny Insights. The workshop covered topics around maximising kerb appeal, claiming a Google My Business listing and online marketing basics.

Who We Are: Moving Stories – with Reside Dance C.I.C

As part of our Oxford Road pilot project Reside Dance worked in partnership with No. 5 Young People to run two dance and movement workshops that gave 11 – 25 year olds an alternative way to respond to the history and heritage of the Oxford Road.

Through dance and moment, young people were invited to explore what the Oxford Road means to them and how they would like the history of the area to be celebrated. The workshops also provided an opportunity for local young people to make new friends, and discover new creative ways of improving wellbeing and mental health.

Reside Dance brought ‘Moving Stories’ to Waterfest with a special workshop and performance on the Forbury Hill to help promote the next stage of this project.

The HSHAZ and Reside Dance are offering free dance workshops in the summer for residents to express themselves and celebrate Reading and it’s communities’ history and heritage while learning different dance styles from around the world.

3 logos: HM Government, Historic England and Reading Borough Council
Last updated on 03/03/2023