Here’s an A-Z of Reading Voluntary Action’s current services and projects
To read about how we have adapted and responded to the pandemic download a copy of our annual report for 2021–22. Reading Voluntary Action’s services and projects are all about encouraging volunteering and social action, supporting the voluntary sector to grow and thrive, connecting communities in Reading and improving the lives of young people and families.
We offer free help with the legalities and technicalities of running or starting a charity or voluntary organisation in Reading. We help organisations meet their legal requirements, function effectively and strengthen their ability to achieve a sustainable funding base. Advice is given individually or by way of training or facilitation. A community development approach is adopted to ensure services and support reach those groups struggling with significant or new community needs. RVA nurtures and supports the development of new projects and initiatives to meet those new needs. Read more about the diverse subjects covered by our Advice Service here. Find out about our Safe and Sound Quality Award here.
Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR)
CPAR is a local partnership project investigating the impact of Covid-19 on health inequalities. The partnership between Reading Borough Council (RBC), Reading Community Learning Centre (RCLC), RVA, the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE), and the University of Reading’s Participation Lab is led by Esther Oenga. She supports a team of community researchers to engage with individuals and groups from minority ethnic communities in Reading. Download a leaflet about the project. The researchers have taken part in a programme of training provided by Health Education England South East and Public Health England South East.
CPAR is part of an ongoing partnership with the University of Reading’s Participation Lab co-producing local knowledge for social change. Other community research projects include Growing up in Reading and Reading Town Centre Strategy community engagement.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
For the past year, we have had an Inclusion Development Worker, allowing RVA to reflect on its own inclusion journey. We have made some changes, clarifying our statement of intent and commitment to inclusion throughout our organisation. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion web page contains this statement and articles and resources to support organisations who are developing their own inclusion journey.
Get Online Reading
Get Online Reading is our digital inclusion project. A team of volunteers provide support for residents who need help accessing the internet and digital services with drop-in sessions in several of Reading’s libraries and other community venues across the town. When Covid restrictions mean that drop-in session aren’t able to run, telephone support is available on 0118 334 1095. Read more here.
No one left behind: vaccine support
RVA is working with community partners to make sure everyone who wants the Covid-19 vaccine can access one. This might mean helping to arrange safe and friendly transport to and from a vaccination centre, language support, or signposting to further information about where and when vaccinations can be accessed in Reading. If you or someone you know have questions about accessing a vaccine call our helpline on 0118 334 1091 and we can answer your questions and help. Read more here.
One Reading Children and Young People’s Partnership
RVA is part of this multi-agency partnership committed to delivering better outcomes for children, young people and families, and developing a local consensus on how to work together. RVA sits on the One Reading Children and Young People’s Partnership Board and produces a monthly newsletter for the partnership. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter here.
Parent Employment Wellbeing project (PEW)
PEW is for parents who are over the age of 16, not in employment, not furloughed and living in Reading. It offers free, clear, non-judgemental and confidential information, advice, guidance and support to help parents progress towards and into training, courses, voluntary work and employment. Find contact details and more information here.
Reading Community Lottery
Reading Community Lottery is a weekly lottery operated by Gatherwell supporting good causes in the Reading area. Lotteries are a fun and effective way for causes to raise much-needed funds in these difficult times. By getting more people on board, they don’t just raise funds, they also raise awareness. Reading Community Lottery was launched in January 2020, and now supports over 50 good causes. To sign up your organisation or play the lottery go to www.readingcommunitylottery.co.uk.
The Ready Friends project supports local people, communities, and voluntary sector groups to reduce loneliness and social isolation in Reading. Ready Friends produces a number of resources for local people looking for activities for themselves and others, and for people who work directly with individual service users in Social Prescribing and family support. Quarterly Befriending forums bring together local people who want to take action on loneliness and social isolation and other events and campaigns support recruitment and retention of volunteer befrienders and buddies. Go the Ready Friends webpages.
Through our website and weekly newsletters we share news, funding opportunities, jobs, events and training for everyone interested in social action in Reading! Subscribe to RVA news or contact us to share your news.
The Social Prescribing service links people aged 16 and over to the activities and support offered by Reading’s voluntary and community groups, empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing. RVA’s Social Prescribing team works with Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across Reading, taking referrals from GPs and healthcare practitioners, as well as Reading Borough Council Adult Social Care, Royal Berkshire Hospital Occupational Therapists and Talking Therapies. Read more and meet the team here.
RVA’s service for volunteer involving organisations (VIOs) encourages and supports volunteering in the Reading area by providing a volunteer matching platform – read more about Reading Volunteer Connect. We share expertise on developing volunteering roles and managing and working with volunteers. We organise or signpost relevant training opportunities for VIOs and their existing volunteers. We facilitate the Reading Volunteer Coordinators’ Network which provides information and peer support for those in volunteer management roles and promote volunteering to employers and their staff as part of corporate social responsibility and personal development. Find out more and get in touch here.
RVA and partners are delivering a project designed to help people of Reading to recover from Covid-19 through the power of Social Prescribing. The Wild Being project is increasing social connectedness and helping Reading communities cope with the impact of Covid-19, as part of a national initiative to embed social prescribing in communities and healthcare. It has been awarded £50k funding from the Thriving Communities Fund. Read more about Wild Being here.