Tackling Inequality Strategy in Action: Place-Based Pilots

The Council intends to improve outcomes for residents in the most deprived areas of Reading and close the life experience gap with those in our most affluent areas. The Council’s Corporate Plan 2022-25 ‘Investing in Readings Future’ sets out the vision for Reading to reach its potential and to ensure everyone living and working can share the benefits of our town’s success. Delivery of this vision is focussed on three interconnected themes of Healthy Environment, Thriving Communities, & Inclusive Economy.

In January 2023, Reading Borough Council agreed its new strategy for tackling inequality over the next three years.  The specific scope of this Tacking Inequality Strategy is how to go beyond our existing activities and strategies to achieve a more consistent quality of life for our residents in our most deprived areas. 

The key focus of the strategy is to support and empower our residents to enhance their self-sufficiency, built on a bedrock of valued educational attainment, strong skills and practical knowledge that enables them to realise their potential through accessing suitable employment opportunities. 

We will deliver this through an innovative and targeted place-based approach to addressing the underlying determinants of deprivation within the Borough that adversely affect Education, Skills, and Training.  We will take a holistic approach to working with our partners, shaped by engagement with our communities, to understand the root causes and action needed to remove barriers to increased positive life outcomes.

Place-Based Working

Place based working approaches use clearly defined and understood geographical areas to focus skills, knowledge, and resources to a common goal. Crucial to the success of this approach is that everyone who has a stake or an interest in the area can contribute and share their perspective about how best the desired outcome might be achieved.

Place-based approaches can involve:

  • targeting services and resources deployed either by councils and/or other stakeholders,
  • utilising and building local community skills, knowledge, and commitment from residents
  • regeneration of assets and infrastructure,
  • devolution of decision making to local communities, with greater engagement and participation at neighbourhood level, and
  • systems based change focusing on the interrelationships between council services, other statutory services, local businesses, and voluntary and community organisations, and how these relationships impact on a specific area, while removing silos.

Reading Borough Council Place-Based Pilots

Over twenty-four months, the new place-based pilots will cover two Wards of the Borough: Church and Whitley.

The aim of the pilots is to test whether by taking a more holistic, targeted and co designed approach to the deployment of Council, community, and private sector resources; residents in some of our least affluent Wards can be better supported to improve their life chances. 

There are three areas of activity for the pilots all of which are important:

Coordination and Visibility of Internal Service:  This involves ensuring that services are delivered in a coordinated, joined up, place-based way, rather than being arranged in organisational silos. This does not necessarily mean changing what services are delivered, but, through understanding service linkages and what each team is doing in the pilot area it may change how and when they are delivered.

There is already a huge depth of intelligence and knowledge about the two pilot areas spread across the organisation. Working together with a focus on place will create the opportunity for service areas – including, education, adult skills, social care, housing, environmental and cultural, among others, to come together to:

  • Share intelligence about the areas including their assets, strengths, and challenges,
  • Identify which partners we already work with in the areas,
  • Share and coordinate work programmes to enable more impactful delivery,
  • Troubleshoot internal blockages/service delivery issues; and
  • Agree and facilitate new activity to deliver the pilot’s objectives.

Engagement and Coordination with Key Partners:  Proactive positive engagement with key partners working in the area – Head Teachers, GP surgeries, voluntary and community sector, faith leaders, community associations etc. has the potential to significantly enhance the impact of place-based working by similarly sharing information and intelligence, aligning activities and codesigning solutions to issues.

Community Engagement:  Our residents and communities are all idiosyncratic, with unique demographics, lived experiences, access to facilities, and community resilience, among others. Understanding their views – issues and aspirations as well as the community’s strengths will help target activity, facilitate codesign and improve wellbeing.

Place-Based Pilots Priorities

Community EngagementTo connect with residents and communities to build strong ongoing relationships to understand what it means to live in Church and Whitley wards, and to involve and collaborate with these communities in the development and delivery of future services and activities.
Educational AttainmentTo support pupils, parents & guardians, teachers, and local communities to secure the best educational attainment for our children and young people.
Increasing Skills and AbilitiesTo understand and nurture the skills and abilities that residents need to secure the employment that they want.
Sustainable EmploymentTo support residents into economically sustainable employment that provides them with good quality of life.
Community Priorities for Public RealmTo respond to what residents tell us about the physical environment and to create a place that supports their quality of life.

South Reading Community Information Ambassadors

From speaking with residents across South Reading, we know that many of them were interested in where information on services, events, and other activities can be found. To support this we have created the South Reading Community Information Ambassadors to help ensure that residents have access to the information they need.

The role of a South Reading Community Information Ambassador is to spread key messages with people they know when having a chat, messaging on WhatsApp or text, or through community groups or organisations they have contact with.

Please see our monthly South Reading Community Information Ambassador newsletters:

Please note that information from previous newsletters may have changed or may now be out of date.

If you have any information you would like to include in the next newsletter or wish to become a South Reading Community Information Ambassador, please email Ollie Cassells, Community Improvement Programme Officer – oliver.cassells@reading.gov.uk – with your request.


Melissa Wise
Donna Pentelow

Community Project Officers


Community Project Officers

Last updated on 22/05/2024