Reading service updates during the coronavirus outbreak

Thank you to all the community groups and charities providing coronavirus support services

The One Reading Community Hub and voluntary sector partners are working in partnership to coordinate support:

Read the full update here and see further updates from groups and organisations below. Entries on Reading Borough Council’s Reading Services Guide are also being updated.

A round-up of service updates during the coronavirus outbreak
  • This list is organised alphabetically by group or service and the date of the update is given in brackets.
  • This list was last updated on 17 Aug 2020.
  • We know that things can change quickly at the moment, so let us know if you would like a service update added or amended by emailing info@rva.org.uk.
A
  • ABC to read have set up live storytelling so that children can listen to their volunteers read stories whilst they are not in a position to support children on a one-to-one basis in schools (26 March 2020).
  • ACRE has suspended all face-to-face interaction between its staff and service users unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Anyone needing support is advised to call 0118 951 0279 (leave a message) or email info@acre-reading.org and staff will endeavour to follow up as soon as they can. Read their full statement here. (19 March 2020)
  • Alana House continues to support regular service users remotely having suspended face-to-face individual work, outreach and group sessions for the time being. Their team of support workers are continuing to provide one-to-one support over the phone or zoom, updates via social media and email, virtual drop-in sessions, online group activities etc. They are continuing to work with partners and are able to support service users to access appointments for housing advice with RBC, support from CGL, advice from CommuniCare and practical support through various agencies. They remain open to referrals and will review them all and contact those involved to explain support available or help them to access other services that may be more appropriate. Their referral form is on their website (and women can be referred by professionals or can self-refer by filling in the form or by calling the Alana House on 0118 921 7640 or by emailing Alana.house@pactcharity.org. They encourage women in need of support to contact them. (5 May 2020)
  • AutAngel are now providing their training, Exploring Autism, including Asperger Syndrome, online. Read more here. (March 2020)
  • Autism Berkshire is launching online autism advice workshops and support groups from 20 April. The workshops will be bite-sized versions of normal sessions about Meeting Sensory Needs and Managing Anger, provided using video conferencing links. Read more and register here. The charity’s Helpline autism advice service is still available by email at contact@autismberkshire.org.uk or by phone on 01189 594 594 (option 1). The Benefits Service is also available to help autistic people and their families in Berkshire understand their rights and help them with benefit applications and appeals by email at benefits@autismberkshire.org.uk or by phone on 01189 594 594 (option 2). (9 April 2020)
  • Autistic Pride have postponed all events until September. They are going to carry on as much as possible online – see their Facebook page for details. (19 March 2020)
B
  • Berkshire Vision have launched a Remote Activities Programme. Read more about the programme for July here. Participants don’t need to have a computer or internet access as they can dial in from any telephone. Berkshire Vision are happy to continue taking new referrals, either for this programme and/or 1:1 telephone befriending calls. Read more on the Berkshire Vision website. (29 April 2020)
  • Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) is still open and providing support to people experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The outreach services and refuges are open and so is the 24/7 helpline 0118 950 4003. They can be contacted via Facebook or email helpline@bwaid.org.uk. See update on BWA website. (15 April 2020)
  • Bounce Back 4 Kids (BB4K) are producing a positive and supportive weekly newsletter – you can download the newsletters from the PACT website. BB4K’s Senior Support Worker has also been carrying out one-to-one consultations with parents and young people who have asked for more direct telephone/video support. Email BB4K@pactcharity.org for more information. (7 May 2020)
C
  • Change, Grow, Live have moved all groups, assessments and one-to-one appointments to telephone or video call. External drop-ins are postponed and the option of telephone assessments or support will be offered. All scripts will be sent out to pharmacy – there will be no in-house collection. They are currently reviewing those on daily supervised consumption, to reduce the numbers attending pharmacies daily. If people are advised to self-isolate, they are dealing with this on a case-by-case basis and working with service users, pharmacies and partners to formulate individual plans. Please contact Lynn.Taylor@cgl.org.uk with questions or queries. (19 March 2020)
  • Christian Community Action are now running a Mobile Response Team which operates primarily from their van. They have had to reduce the amount of furniture they are able to provide, but are still delivering bed bases and mattresses, bedding and kitchen packs, and emergency food parcels. Referrals are being made by Brighter Futures for Children, RBC, and Launchpad Reading. They cannot meet clients face-to-face at the moment, but if people need them for furniture or provisions, or perhaps just a short chat, they can be contacted on 01189 512 338 or by email at response@ccam.org.uk. (16 April 2020)
  • Citizens Advice Reading are working remotely. Their volunteers are trained to advise on virtually any issue, including welfare benefits, money and credit problems, employment, consumer rights, housing, neighbourhood disputes, education and healthcare, immigration and residency queries, human rights, family and personal issues. CAB are also offering free Energy Advice appointments by telephone; further details can be found here. Access to advice is available in the following ways: Online: www.citizensadvice.org.ukPhone: 03444 111 306 or 03444 111 444Textphone: 03444 111 445 or by completing the online form on our website  https://rcab.org.uk/  (19 May 2020)
  • Coffee and Craft is running a foodshare on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6pm. They are receiving fresh food, veg, sandwiches etc from the local supermarkets and giving out fresh food parcels locally, and also delivering to the students at the University. Email office@coffeeandcraft.org.uk. (1 April 2020)
  • Compass Recovery College are offering online courses, led by their consultant NLP practitioner, Olga Zilberberg throughout April, May June. Courses will cover coping with anxiety, depression, stress and panic. Check their website for details. (7 April 2020)
  • The Cowshed charity continues to provide its services on a referral basis to all those requiring support with clothing, footwear, bed linen, curtains, towels and toiletries, from babies to adults. Referrals can be made via their website thecowshed.org by other charities and local authority appointed organisations such as social services, family workers, health visitors, teachers, churches etc. They aim to provide a week’s worth of clothing to each individual referred, which can be collected from their head office in Hurst or delivered direct to the individual. For more information, please visit our website or call us on 01189 345120, 10am3pm, MondayFriday. (13 May 2020)
D
  • Dingley’s Promise family support services are open to any family of a young child (0 – 5 years) with SEND. Read their full update.  (1 April 2020)
  • Depression Xpression are suspending all meetings including Friday morning coffee at BB’S until further notice. They have set up a WhatsApp Group and a Facebook Messenger Group (join their Facebook group and ask to be added to the chat group) for people to keep in touch during this time. (19 March 2020)
E
  • The Earley Crescent Centre have cancelled all courses until the end of this academic year (July 2020). They hope to be back up and running in September 2020. (March 2020)
  • The Elevate careers team are still available to offer support and careers advice for 16-18 year olds (up to 25 for care leavers and those with SEND), via email and telephone. Email elevate@brighterfuturesforchildren.org or you call/text 07929 178133. (7 May 2020)
F
G
  • Get Berkshire Active have created a new web page that brings together all the best advice, support and ideas. There is specific help for older people, children and families. There are also links to resources supporting good mental health and links to support individuals and organisations working remotely from home. They have a set of ‘Fall-Proof’ resources which outline a series of 6 exercises you can do at home. A video of these exercises can be found here. Alternatively, if you, or someone you know/care for would like a set of cards that outline these exercises in a hard copy please get in touch with Get Berkshire Active via info@getberkshireactive.org. (10th June 2020)

H

  • Home-Start Reading are continuing to provide individual support via telephone or Face Time and group support via monitored WhatsApp group. Their Coordinators have been assisting in delivering free baby formula, providing online homework assistance for older children and putting together age-specific ‘treasure bags’ to provide children with activities. They are continuing to accept new referrals and can be contacted via email: office@home-start-reading.org.uk, twitter: @HomeStartRDG, or via their website: www.home-start-reading.org.uk (19 May 2020)
I
  • The Indian Community Centre is now closed until 22 April, but will continue to review the situation. They will be keeping in touch with service users by telephone. (24 March 2020)
J
  • Jelly has been hosting a number of creative online meet-ups including book clubs and knit-nights. You can find out how to join a number of activities they are doing by visiting their website, their Eventbrite page, following @thejellyReading on Twitter or visiting their Instagram page. (12 May 2020)
L
  • Launchpad Reading have launched a ‘here for you’ telephone service ‘for anyone in need of support, whether they have housing or homelessness issues or not  – read their full service update here. (23 March 2020)
M
  • The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) at Brighter Futures for Children have issued a position statement on their current offer. Read more here. (7 May 2020)
N
  • New Beginnings Reading is a charity dedicated to the prevention and relief of poverty in Reading. They have transformed the Queens Arms pub into a sanctuary for those in need. During the pandemic, they are offering a Community Fridge, open Monday-Friday from 6-7pm, which offers free fresh and non-perishable food. This is a drop-in service with no referral needed to attend. (14 May 2020)
P
  • The Pakistani Community Centre is offering help with groceries, errands and language support. Call 0118 926 9031. Visit their website. (15 April 2020)
  • Parenting Special Children continues to support families through the pandemic. While their courses and events are on hold, they are still able to support families over the phone, via email, and through video links. Their helpline is open Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2.30pm. Call the helpline on 0118 9863532 or email dss@parentingspecialchildren.co.uk. For families who need a bespoke package of support, their team of specialist practitioners can be commissioned to provide this over the phone, via email or through video call. To find out more or to commission, contact Zobia Kalim on 07557 102623 or email zobia@parentingspecialchildren.co.uk. (15 April 2020)
R
  • Re3 – Recycling Centres in Bracknell and Reading are re-opening from 18 May using an an online booking system only. Read the full update. (13 May 2020)
  • Reading Association for the Blind (RAB) are providing advice, signposting and support on sight-loss related issues via telephone. This service is available to anyone living with sight loss in the borough. Referrals should go to their Outreach Manager, Gabrielle Watts – vo3@raftb.org. If email isn’t an option, leave a voicemail on the Walford Hall Phone (0118 957 2960) but email is preferred. This service is provided by RAB staff. RAB are also proving a telephone befriending for people with sight loss – this is open to anyone living with sight loss in the borough. Referrals should go to adele.b-w@raftb.org, or left on the voicemail above but, again email is preferred and will get a swifter response. This service is provided by RAB’s volunteers with staff support. (21 April 2020)
  • Readibus is still operating its service. Travel enquiries from people with restricted mobility, such as elderly or disabled people, can still be referred to them. Journeys being made have mostly been for going to doctor surgeries (for on-going treatment); going to respite; and for essential shopping where someone with restricted mobility (not shielding) still wants to do this themselves. Restrictions apply in terms of anyone displaying symptoms or living in a household where someone is displaying symptoms not being allowed to travel. They are maintaining ‘social distancing’ on the buses for journeys and have intensive cleaning regimes and procedures in place with a view to making the travelling environment as safe as possible. They are also making a lot of telephone calls to users of the ReadiBus service, particularly where they know someone to be on their own. (1 April 2020)
  • Reading Community Learning Centre will start their new term on 5 May 2020. Enrolled learners will use whats app video chat groups or zoom to learn in small class groups of three. RCLC’s outreach worker, Shaheen Kausar, has a new mobile phone so any BAME man or woman who needs support and advice can use this new contact number: 07923 138 730. Read RCLC’s full update here. (29 April 2020)
  • Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit are working remotely and continue to support existing clients. New clients looking for benefits advice can get in touch by email (advisor@readingspecialist.co.uk) or phone 0118 955 1070 (2 April 2020).
  • Reading Family Aid have suspended activities until further notice. This includes the Odds Farm Outing, Camp Mohawk Outing, the Children’s Festival, Reading Half Marathon and any subsequent outings and events until further notice. They have also stopped accepting toy donations and have paused monthly newsletters. (29 March 2020)
  • Reading Frontline are working remotely and continuing to support existing clients. New clients looking for debt advice can get in touch by email: Reading@Frontlinedebtadvice.org.uk (16th April 2020)
  • Reading Mencap continue to support children and adults with a learning disability, and their families and carers, by: offering help, advice and problem solving from their Family Advisers; keeping in regular touch with clients on the phone to check on wellbeing and provide social contact; ensuring individuals and families have essential supplies of food and medicine, including making deliveries; providing activity packs and idea for things to do; and signposting to other services. They have launched a fundraising appeal to ensure local families with learning disabilities have everything they need to stay home and stay safe – in particular, making sure they have enough to eat. Anyone who needs support can call 0118 966 2518, Monday to Friday (9.30am–5.30pm) or email office@readingmencap.org.uk. (21 April 2020)
  • Reading Refugee Support Group have suspended all activities until further notice – see their full statement here. (24 March 2020)
  • Ridgeline Trust have suspended horticultural therapy sessions at their garden until further notice. They are still available via email, admin@ridgelinetrust.org.uk, and will have updates on their website and Facebook page. (26 March 2020)
  • RISC is now closed. Meeting rooms can be used by any groups needing to organise emergency supplies etc. There is also the potential for the cafe kitchen to used to produce food to go out to individuals in need. Contact sharon@risc.org.uk for more details. (19 March 2020)
  • The Rising Sun Arts Centre has temporarily suspended all activities at the centre – read their full statement here. (19 March 2020)
S
  • Sadaka is offering a takeaway service outside the Fairview Community Centre, from 11.30am till 12.15pm on Saturdays. (24 March 2020)
  • Smartworks are currently offering free online and telephone job coaching for women who have a confirmed interview. Companies are still recruiting during the coronavirus lockdown for roles in food retail, social care and other key worker positions. Contact them on 0118 959 4245 or email reading@smartworks.org.uk.  (1 April 2020)
  • The Stroke Association have suspended all groups at this time.  All face-to-face contact has also been suspended but phone support to stroke survivors and their families/carers across Reading and Wokingham continues. Support is offered over the phone from local staff and also nationally via the Stroke Association helpline and website. For local support call 0118 321 9349 and leave a message and a local team member will call you back.  Alternately visit www.stroke.org.uk or call the Stroke Helpline 0303 3033 100.  (6 April 2020)
  • Support U have created a new dedicated phone number for those that need a friendly voice or just want to chat to someone, regardless of gender or sexuality identity. They can’t help with prescriptions or shopping but do have volunteers available, who are more than happy to have a conversation with you. Call this dedicated number-  0800 048 9303for – a general chat, Monday to Wednesday 10am to 4pm and Thursdays 10am to 8pm. Volunteers are happy to chat on a one-off basis and, where possible, take requests for a regular call back whilst the social distancing rules are in place. If you wish to call about your gender identity or sexuality you can still call on their dedicated support line: 0118 321 9111. (1 April 2020)
T
  • Talkback have temporarily suspended face-to face-services, however, they are still there to support. They will ring people every week to catch up and see how they are. They are available for calls to help – phone 01494 434448 or email talkback@talkback-uk.com. They are still on social media, where you can see tips and interact. (1 April 2020)
  • Thames Valley Police say that if you need to report anything that is not an emergency, you might experience some delays calling 101 so where possible report through the Thames Valley Police website. In an emergency always call 999. You can find a number of frequently asked questions and a message from Chief Constable John Campbell on their website. You can also read a message from Nicholas John, Commander of Reading Police Area here. (3 April 2020)
  • Trust House Reading continues to support survivors of rape and sexual abuse remotely. They have temporarily suspended our face-to-face counselling, ISVA and CHISVA sessions. However, their specially trained counsellors are providing one-to-one counselling sessions over the phone or online through a variety of means to suit our service users, such as Zoom, Skype etc. Their ISVA is providing practical and emotional support and advice to adults over the phone or via Skype. Their CHISVA is also offering online and phone support for under 18s and their parents. Their counselling service for children and young people continues with sessions either online or over the telephone. A limited number of face-to-face sessions are also available in some circumstances. They remain open to referrals. To self-refer please call their Helpline on 0118 958 4033 or email support@trusthousereading.org. Their helpline remains open and is available for anyone aged 18 or above. For further information, please visit their website: www.trusthousereading.org. (23 June 2020)
W
  • The Ways and Means Trust have provided an update on the status of their Greenshoots site here. (24 March 2020)
  • The Way Ministry Reading is a Christian community group offering food, clothing, toiletries and other essential items to adults in need regardless of their beliefs. During the pandemic they are serving a hot dinner, and fruit and snacks to take away, from the Queens Arms, 24 Great Knollys Street, Reading. The Way Ministry Reading operates every Sunday between 3pm and 4pm. (18 May 2020)
  • WEA continues to support Reading communities with free, online courses using Zoom in a full range of Adult Learning subjects: English & Maths, Health and Well-being, Employability, Leisure and Recreation and more. Visit www.wea.org.uk or contact Joe Carter at jcarter@wea.org.uk for further information on all our programmes (11 June 2020)

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