Community Information Ambassador January newsletter

You’re helping to improve the lives in your community!

In this fourth newsletter, we’ve included information on fantastic grants on offer to small community and voluntary groups. We’ve also included exciting upcoming events from Reading Borough Council, and organisations we work with we hope will be of interest.

When we’ve been speaking with South Reading residents, many have asked for more guidance on where information on services, events, and other activities can be located. We need and value your help as a South Reading Community Information Ambassador in sharing key information to your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues when you’re chatting, on WhatsApp, email or Facebook or through the community groups or organisations you represent.

We want to help make sure everyone across South Reading has access to good quality information, especially support, services, and events on from Reading Borough Council, the Government, and importantly, yourselves, our vital community partners.

We want all residents in South Reading to be included in everything we do and we appreciate your help.

Mini and Small Grants Making a Big Difference!

Small Grants for Creative Activities

Taking part in creative activity, particularly when you do it with other people, can boost your well-being and make you feel connected to the place where you live. Creative Lives is a national charity that believes who are working with the Council to support opportunities for everyone to find their creative side by offering small grants of £500 or £1000 for you to help make this happen.

Do you have a creative skill you’d like to share with others? Are you part of a group that would like to do something creative? Are you a local business that could host a creative activity? It could be a drawing group in a hairdressing salon, a sing-a-long in a pub, or a clothes upcycling workshop in a community hall – anything creative!

Applications opened on 11 December 2023, and you will need to apply by 31 January 2024 – so get your applications in quickly! For more information, please visit the Creative Lives website or email

Small Grants for community and voluntary groups

Whilst a hugely successful town, people in parts of Reading do not have the same life chances some. Applications for grants are welcome for activities which support residents to become more self-sufficient maybe to achieve an educational qualification skills and practical knowledge which could help people get a job or an even better job.

The grants programme is aimed at voluntary and community groups, and schools based in Reading borough. They could include a wide range of groups such as charitable organisations, voluntary organisations, community groups, faith groups, sports groups, arts and cultural groups, uniformed groups (scouts, guides etc), Reading schools and not-for-profit social enterprises. Groups which were successful in the first round of Small Grants Fund bids in early 2023 can bid a second time.

An overall pot of £100,000 has been made available by the Council to be shared among community and voluntary groups, no matter how small. Grants of up to

£5,000 are available, or £10,000 if two or more organisations join up.

The deadline for applications is the quickly approaching 30 January 2024. The Council is aiming to inform groups whether they have been successful or not by the first week of March 2024.

For further information, please see the press release, or visit the Small Grants webpage.

Other useful information

Whitley Wood Pantry

Run from the Whitley Wood Community Centre, every Tuesday 1 – 3pm. Come along for a free cuppa, and to chat to others. Subsidised food is also available for £5.

Assisting Berkshire Children (ABC) to read – need volunteers

Award winning charity, ABC to read, aim to help as many children as possible improve their reading to enable them to achieve success in education and confidently meet the challenges of adult life.

ABC to read need more volunteers, could you help local children find the fun in reading. Volunteers need to be DBS checked and will receive full safeguarding training, and support, as part of their training.

If you’d like to find out more email or call 0118 9511336 and visit ABC to read website.

And if you know a school that would like help to raise reading standards please get in touch too.

Whitley CDA Community Café

In addition to weekdays, Whitley CDA’s community cafe will reopen its doors on Saturday mornings. From 9am to 12pm, they will be offering affordable breakfasts in a family friendly environment. Look out for what’s going on each Saturday on the Whitley CDA Facebook page.

Household Support Fund open for applications

Residents on low incomes and those who are struggling to meet the rising cost of living, are eligible to apply for a £125 one-off payment (per household). Please see the press release for further details, and the application portal to start your application.

Advice, information, and support services

For free, impartial, and confidential specialist advice to help with a wide range of problems including benefits, debt and money, cost of living, and online support, please contact Citizens Advice Reading, CommuniCare, or Reading Welfare Rights.

If you would prefer an in-person informal chat, or assistance with online applications, please visit the Whitley CDA Community Café, in the South Reading Community Hub, on a Monday, Wednesday, or the first Saturday of every month to speak with the organisations.

For specific debt advice, please contact Frontline, who provide expert assistance to those who are disadvantaged by the burden of debt, often through no fault of their own. They also specialise in offering independent, expert benefit advice.

Reading 4 Community (R4C)

R4C is a free online funding search tool which helps Voluntary Organisations, working for the benefit of our residents, to find grants, awards and other funding to start new projects. Please visit the R4C website for further information.

Local Plan Consultation

Residents are being invited to help shape the future of their town by taking part in an important public consultation.

The Local Plan is a crucial Council planning document which will help inform decisions on planning applications up to 2041. It outlines Council policies on key issues like future housing need, affordable homes, associated infrastructure and how sustainable developments will help Reading towards its net zero carbon ambitions.

Please see the press release for further information.

Is your community organisation looking for space?

If you are part of a community or voluntary sector organisation that is interested in renting or sharing space in a Reading Borough Council-owned building, please complete this online form.

The Council endeavour to match organisations to suitable premises wherever possible. If we are unable to fulfil your request on this occasion, we commit to providing you with useful feedback to help you in your search going forward.

Whitley Wood Playgroup

Do you have a child aged 0-4? Then come long to the Whitley Wood Playgroup, on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 am at the Whitley Wood Community Centre.

For more information, please contact and

New buzz service to connect south Reading with Green Park Station

A new extended bus service will link south Reading with Green Park railway station six days per week starting in the new year.

The existing No 9 hourly service will become buzz 9 from 2 January 2024 and will follow the existing route from the town centre into Whitley Wood before continuing on to Green Park Station.

The extended service is part of Reading Borough Council’s £26m Bus Service Improvement Plan, funded by the Department for Transport.

Please see the press release for further information.

Are you a parent or a carer living in Church, Norcot or Southcote Wards in Reading?

  • Can you tell us about your experience of helping your child / children (10 years and under), you care for, look after their teeth?
  • What has been your experience of going to, or trying to go to, a dentist with your child in the past two years?
  • What support have you had in understanding more about how to keep your child’s teeth healthy?

Healthwatch Reading would like to hear about your experiences (good or bad) of looking after your children’s teeth.

As a thank you for sharing your views, you will receive a £20 gift voucher, and goodie bag.

For more information, please call 0118 214 5579, or email

GLL Sport Foundation accepting applications for 2024/25

GLL is offering funding opportunities to all athletes, across all disciplines. The application deadline is the Tuesday 20 February 2024, please visit the GLL website for further information on eligibility criteria and to access the application form.

Please share amongst your networks, GLL is keen to give back to the community. This year, they have already supported 28 athletes and are keen to continue to grow the Foundation locally.

Other spotlight events

Community Wellness Outreach Health Checks (Wednesday 17 January)

From 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at the South Reading Community Hub qualified nurses will be delivering a full free Health Check, and providing advice and guidance, to help you live a healthier life.

Community Wellness Outreach Health Checks (Saturday 20 January) From 9am to 12pm at the South Reading Community Hub.

For a full list of what’s on in Reading – please visit the Reading Directory

If you have any information you would like to include in the next newsletter or wish to unsubscribe and opt out of being a South Reading Community Information Ambassador, please email Ollie Cassells, Community Project Officer – – with your request.

Last updated on 19/02/2024