Reading Community Learning Centre services during lockdown

Author's position
Article date
27 April 2020
Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Since Reading Community Learning Centre (RCLC) closed the centre to the public on 18 April 2020, we have had to make lots of changes in the delivery of our core programme of courses, as well start to develop extra support in response to the needs of the community.

It has been a challenging time for staff – working from home, uncertainty around work, and home-schooling – but for the women we support, the face-to-face interaction was a lifeline. We have adapted our service over the month of April so that we can continue to work in the following ways:

  • Our new term will now start on 5 May 2020. All learners enrolled onto the summer term will be notified of this change. Reading and writing improvers, English conversation beginners and improvers, sewing beginners and improvers and beauty improvers will all run as timetabled.
  • Enrolled learners will use whats app video chat groups or zoom to learn in small class groups of three.
  • The pre-entry class and beginner’s IT class will not run, as the learners do not have the equipment or the technical support to do IT from home, and the pre-entry class requires lots of one-to-one language support (due to the very limited level of English).
  • RCLC will be developing MHFA courses for the community and voluntary sector, towards the end of May/June in light of the response for this support from the sector.
  • RCLC has remained in contact with our vulnerable learners and elderly BAME men and women over the phone, checking in on them once a week to see that they are OK, if they need a referral or just a friendly voice to say hello. Our 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.
  • RCLC have opened support to vulnerable BAME people via a joint initiative with ACRE etc, CommuniCare referrals, and other organisations linked to the community hub. This is open to men as well as women.
  • RCLC will try to develop a befriending group for the current learners with RCLC volunteers and be part of the larger befriending group for the under 50s in Reading.
  • The creche has sadly been closed and staff have been furloughed.
How to contact us

Thanks to the support of Connect Reading and Focus Group Ltd, RCLC have purchased 7 new mobiles for staff so that they can stay in touch with learners, deliver classes and respond to enquiries. Please see the new numbers below:

  • Petra Robinson (main office and enquiries): 07923 138 681
  • Shaheen Kausar (for advice, support and outreach): 07923 138 730
  • Aisha Malik (manager): 07923 138 711
  • Email:
Thank you to our funders

Surrounding all this uncertainty and new ways of working, RCLC have received great support from our funders: Henry Smith, Reading Borough Council, DCLG and the Tampon Tax Grant. We are grateful for their support which has enabled us to continue to provide a much-needed service to vulnerable BAME women in the community.

Further information

Read the full update on our website: new ways of working for RCLC during social distancing