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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

28 Feb 2012

Are you an artist in Reading? Read on......

As chair of the Arts Forum I have the privilege of meeting dedicated and enthusiastic artists and representatives of arts groups in Reading.  Our meetings have so far been crammed with ideas and inspiration for arts in Reading.

Reading Arts Week is an annual event and artists in Reading are being invited to submit their work for this event.  Despite an A Level in art, I don't think anything I have done would be worthy of exhibition but there are bound to be plenty of wonderful pieces waiting to be seen.

Submissions for Reading Arts Week launch tomorrow so why not go ahead and submit something?

For more information, please see the following press release.

Reading Borough Council Press Release

Wednesday (29 February) sees the launch of this year's art work submissions for Reading Arts Week.

Local artists and artisans in Reading and surrounding area are invited to submit up to two original works of art for the annual community art exhibition and week long festival.

Submitting work into Reading Arts Week is open to anyone over the age of 16 living or working in the greater Reading area. You needn't be a professional established artist, may be you enjoy painting or taking photographs or are currently on a part-time creative course and would like to enter your work into the exhibition.

You can submit paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, ceramics, furniture, glass, mosaics, jewellery and digital art including video.

24 Feb 2012

Coming to the RESCUE again!

In October I joined in with Reading RESCUE.  I worked with an really friendly team from Blandy and Blandy to clear rubbish from the Thames Towpath between the Roebuck Inn and Scours Lane (they continued to Caversham bridge.  I had to leave for a meeting).  You can read about it here.

Reading RESCUE are running another event from 8 to 11 March and it really is worth getting involved if you can.

'Reading Borough Council Press Release

It's time to sign up to join one of the 20-plus clean-up teams out and about in Reading's green spaces on the second weekend in March.

Now in its 23rd year RESCUE - the Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean up event - is also asking residents to identify litter hotspots for volunteers to clear up. Sponsored by Thames Water and supported by Reading Borough Council, the event gives people living and working in Reading the chance to get out in the fresh air and join together with friends and neighbours to clean up litter before the birds start nesting.

To sign up to a group or to identify an area which needs clearing go to: www.readingrescue.org.uk,

Email: rescue@reading.gov.uk, Text: RESCUE to 81722 or Tweet @ReadingRESCUE. Also, join the Facebook page 'Reading Rescue 2012' for regular updates.

Tracy Sacks, Community Investment & Education Manager, at Thames Water said: "The river is a key element to our business and it's really important, for the enjoyment of everyone in Reading, to keep it clean. That's why we're really pleased to be sponsoring RESCUE for the fifth year.

"Our staff are always eager to get involved and we'd encourage as many people as possible to take part."

Paul Gittings, Reading's Lead Councillor for Environment and Climate Change, said: "People volunteer for RESCUE year after year because they enjoy getting out in the open together and doing something useful for Reading. I encourage as many people as possible to sign up and join in the fun."'

21 Feb 2012

Our budget has been passed

Well, back from the Council meeting where the budget was passed with full support from all parties, apart from the Greens.

The Greens put forward a motion to increase the Council Tax by 3.5%, following what the Green council in Brighton have done.  Strangely, they didn't say what this rise would pay for.  This amendment to the budget was rejected.

Times are hard.  Many people have already lost their working tax credits, with more to follow.  Food prices are going up, energy prices are on the rise, petrol is getting more expensive again.  If you get a payrise, it is likely to be below inflation making it, effectively, a paycut.  Many people aren't getting a payrise at all and, with unemployment rising, people are facing the possibility of not having a job at all.

With costs rising faster than pay people are struggling.  I know people who are having to decide between heating and food so, when offered the choice of no Council Tax rise, or a rise of 3.5%, I know what most people would go for and it's not with the Greens.

16 Feb 2012

Are you interested in Reading's health and heritage?

Reading Borough Council Press Release

Reading residents will be able to vote for who they want to stand on The Cultural Partnership Board during an election taking place over the next two months.

The Cultural Partnership is looking for two board members to represent the Reading community on key themes; health and heritage. There are currently six community representative seats on the Board, but two of the posts are currently vacant.

11 Feb 2012

Looking forward to the new gardening year!

I'm sure I'm not alone in enjoying browsing through seed and plant catalogues (maybe I am?).  When they start dropping through the door in January I actually look forward to finding a quiet moment to have a good look and start planning my garden for the coming year.

9 Feb 2012

'We Need to Talk' Success and Next Steps

Reading Borough Council Press Release

The success of the first phase of Reading Borough Council's 'We Need To Talk' public engagement programme is outlined in a report going to a Cabinet meeting later this month, along with the next steps in the process.

Last summer year the Council launched a new way of working with local people, aimed at building long-lasting relationships with local residents and providing new opportunities to influence Council decisions and services. The 'We Need to Talk' public engagement initiative focused on the difficult decisions facing the council in the current economic climate and gave local people the chance to have their say on the issues that matter most to them and their communities.

7 Feb 2012

Let's Talk Health - continuing the conversation

In the recent Let's Talk surveys and events, Battle residents made it clear that health services were very important to them.  Reading Borough Council are committed to talking to residents about the things that are important to them so the next Let's Talk conversation will be about health!  Click on the picture below to find out more:


Battle will be hosting a Let's Talk Health event at Battle Library on Monday 27 February 2-4 pm.  There is a questionnaire available online and there are also paper questionnaires available at libraries, leisure centres and other council buildings, as well as GP surgeries, dentists and local hospitals

Is there enough health provision in Battle Ward?  Do you use our local parks to exercise and keep fit?  Are you and your family getting the support you need to improve or maintain your health?  Please do go along and make your thoughts heard about the things you like and the things you want to see more of.

2 Feb 2012

Do you know someone struggling in the cold?

£100,000 in Money for Vulnerable Reading Residents During the Winter

Reading Borough Council Press Release

As the cold snap continues this week, vulnerable residents who struggle to keep warm during cold winter months could get help thanks to Reading Borough Council's successful £105,000 bid for Government funding which will help save lives.

Health authorities estimate around 80 people in Reading die needlessly as a direct result of cold homes during the winter. Very often these are vulnerable elderly people whose homes either need minor repairs to protect against the cold or who struggle to pay heating bills. In some cases the installation of a few small energy efficiency measures in their homes would make all the difference.

Late last year Reading Borough Council bid for a slice of the Government's 'Warm Homes Healthy People' fund and was successfully awarded £105,000 in funding to help vulnerable people in the borough.

Whilst supporting the elderly will be a key target for the funding, other vulnerable groups whose health may be adversely affected by cold will also be eligible, including those with disabilities and very young children.

The Council is now calling on vulnerable residents who struggle to keep warm or neighbours who know of anyone who may struggle during the winter months to make contact to discuss their needs. The number to call is 0118 937 3747.

To say I was obsessed with the weather.....

.. would be a understatement.