Thursday, 31 January 2013

Palmer Park events answers to questions

Following my previous post on the draft timetable of events for Palmer Park over the summer, I had a number of enquiries around parking and finishing times. Here is the response from the Council – rest assured that we will keep an eye on things, but please keep the feedback coming:

"Dear Councillor White,
Many thanks for your email.
The Palmer Park site was specifically chosen as a host to events and activities due to it’s location in the heart of a community and it’s accessibility using many forms of transport. In addition to the free parking onsite, there are strong public transport links with Bus Routes 13, 14, 17 and 190 stopping at the site, and cycle routes R3 & R30 travelling to / through the site.
It is also envisaged that the majority of people attending the community events and activities will be from the local neighbourhood and will therefore travel by foot from the surrounding residential areas. Where there are slightly larger scale events being planned, the promotion of public transport links and also the utilisation of the park and ride scheme (near the Showcase Cinema at Winnersh Crossroads) will be one of the main considerations. 
The location of the event area is alongside the stadium (London Road side) in the centre of the park. This area has been chosen to ensure that it will be screened from view on all sides and will also be a good distance away from nearby residential properties.
For circus and funfair activities in particular, all operators are instructed (as far as is practicable) to locate and position amusements upon site to minimise noise disturbance, with a closing time of (no later than) 10.00pm every night apart from Saturday when it shall be 10.30pm and on Sunday at 9.00pm.
Where applicable, events and activities that take place at the site will need to go through Reading Borough Council’s licensing process, where appropriate operating times will be set-out.
I hope this answers your queries – if you do have any further thoughts or concerns then please don’t hesitate to contact me."

Monday, 28 January 2013

Welfare reforms in numbers of Reading residents impacted

A report went to the last Cabinet detailing the current best guess of the numbers of people in Reading who will be hit hard by the various welfare reforms.

From the Cabinet papers: "Taken together, the recent and forthcoming welfare reform changes will have a significant and cumulative effect on residents, most likely increasing levels of deprivation for certain segments of Reading's population."

358 households will be impacted by the benefit cap
up to 2280 people will be affected by the transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independent Payments
8947 people will be affected by the Council tax benefit changes
the bedroom tax will affect at least 900 people

Pretty devastating!

Reading RESCUE (tidying up Reading) #rdg

Reading RESCUE is coming up again – it now happens twice a year. It is a great way for residents to get involved with tidying up their area. See below for details:

21-24th March 2013 is the next RESCUE event.

Volunteers from local businesses and community groups form clean up teams to deal with litter and rubbish across Reading, Berkshire.

Working along-side the river and canal, in woodlands and in urban areas, volunteers transform our local areas for the enjoyment of everyone.

Describing it as 'good, clean fun!' one volunteer said it was very rewarding to take part in his local area, and contribute to his neighbourhood.

If you would like to join the 300 local people who will be taking part in march, all you need to do is:

1) Find some friends who want to help;
2) Find a litter hotspot to tidy up*;
3) Get in touch with RESCUE to register your event and order equipment.
4) Publicise your event!

Groups should register by the 25th of February. If you are not part of a group, we can place you with one.

*If you do not have a litter hotpsot, please contact us and we may be able to allocate you one.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Draft programme of activities in Palmer Park #rdg

Following on from my previous post about the unstable chalk mines in Palmer Park being secured, and part of the Park being fit for heavier events. I got this e-mail with an early draft of activities from the Council. What do people think?

Subject: Provisional Event Timetable for Palmer Park

Dear Councillors,

Following cabinet approval for the re-introduction of events and activities to Palmer Park, and the subsequent income generation linked with this, a provisional timetable of community activities and events has been drawn up for 2013, this is in an early stage and we anticipate that more activities will be added to this as we move further into the year. Activities provisionally confirmed so far to take place at Palmer Park include:

16th June 2013 – East Reading Festival

20th July – Reading 5’s Football Tournament

Circus and Funfairs:

26/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair Set Up

27/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair Set Up

28/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair

29/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair

30/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair

31/03/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair

01/04/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair Take Down

02/04/2013 Palmer Park Carters Steam Fair Take Down

22/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair Set Up

23/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair Set Up

24/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

25/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

26/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

27/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

28/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

29/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

30/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

31/05/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

01/06/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

02/06/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair

03/06/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair Take Down

04/06/2013 Palmer Park Beach's Fun Fair Take Down

24/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair Set Up

25/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair Set Up

26/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

27/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

28/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

29/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

30/06/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

01/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

02/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

03/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

04/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

05/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

06/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

07/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

08/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

09/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

10/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

11/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

12/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

13/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

14/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair

15/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair Take Down

16/07/2013 Palmer Park Billy Davis Funfair Take Down

25/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

26/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

27/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

28/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

29/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

30/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

31/07/2013 Palmer Park Circus

01/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

02/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

03/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

04/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

05/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

06/08/2013 Palmer Park Circus

22/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

23/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

24/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

25/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

26/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

27/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

28/08/2013 Palmer Park Fun Fair

To be announced.

In addition to these dates and activities, we are also looking at the potential of hosting a German beer festival onsite in September, in addition to having discussions with a number of community groups with a view to organising some more activities such as a family fun day and a charity sponsored walk.

I’d be very grateful if you were able to have a look through the activities and bookings and let me know your thoughts or if you have any concerns or queries before we start to confirm these. We will of course keep you informed as and when more bookings are provisionally taken.

If you’d like any more details or information then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Many thanks,


Three Tuns crossroads improvements

I finally got a bit more about the changes at the Three Tuns crossroads. From the Council:

"The road works have now been completed at the Three Tuns junction and the permanent traffic lights are now working. As a part of these works MOVA has been added to the traffic lights which is a programme that allows isolated junctions to respond to traffic demand more efficiently. What this should amount to is less delay to the main roads at the junction taking some pressure off those side roads where there is a tendency for drivers to use as a rat run. How successful this is only time will tell."

Have regular users of this junction noticed any difference?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Enough food for everyone IF... #rdg #IF

I attending the Reading launch of IF at the end of the week. It is building on the Make Poverty History campaign from a few years ago. Here is the press release.

Linda and Laura with the sign-on card

IF Campaign Launch outside St Lawrence’s Church in Reading, Berkshire: 25th January

Today a group of local activists from across Reading came together to help launch a new campaign to help reduce global poverty. Rev Robert Weston, of Park United Reformed Church explained the reason for the IF campaign:

‘The world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food.

Hunger is the greatest scandal of our age.

This year, with the G8 coming to Britain, we can make a real difference if we act together and act now.

The aim of the IF campaign is to tackle the scandal that sees 1 in 8 people in the world go to bed hungry. The food system is broken. There’s enough food, but it’s not going to hungry people who need it to live. We know we can change this. All this suffering and death is preventable IF we persuade our governments to act.

Nearly 100 leading charities have joined together to demand an end to hunger. In June the G8 Summit comes to Britain. This is our chance to end the scandal of hunger. Our leaders will listen IF we act together and act now.’

The Mayor of Reading, Councillor Jenny Rynn gave her support for the IF campaign saying that this could be a major help in achieving the UN’s Millennium Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma, gave his full support to the IF campaign emphasising the importance of the government’s commitment to ensure that 0.7% of the United Kingdom’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is spent on international development and aid. This contribution helps to alleviate some of the worst poverty and hunger across the globe.

The Bishop of Reading, Bishop Andrew, reflected on his 9 years of ministry in Ethiopia, where he saw first-hand the impact of multinational companies on the lives of poor communities. The displacement of local farmers, to create vast fields of crops to produce biofuels is having a negative effect on the provision of locally grown food for people in Ethiopia, creating food shortages. Bishop Andrew encouraged the crowd outside St Lawrence Church, saying that together we can make a difference and build on the success of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign.

MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson, also gave his full backing to the project and drew attention to the scandal of food waste, a contributing factor to the global problem of food shortage. Rob has been involved in an innovative local project to use the fruit grown in local gardens, parks and allotments – which can be used to produce fruit juice, jams and other products.

The crowd of supporters were delighted to enjoy a piece of music written specially for the launch event and performed by students from Leighton Park School. The piece composed by Leighton Park music teacher Chris Mitchell is in a Latin American style, featuring brass and percussion, and the performance is named "Jubilee Shout".

Maranda St John Nicolle, co-ordinator of Christian Concern for One World was delighted with the level of support for the campaign in Reading; saying, ‘It is always encouraging to see such a vibrant community seeking to raise awareness of global issues. I hope others will want to get the message out there: the world produces enough food, but not everyone has enough food. IF we get together, we can make a difference and we can solve this problem.’

At the launch event were:

Mayor of Reading, Councillor Jenny Rynn

Bishop Andrew, Bishop of Reading

Rob Wilson MP

Alok Sharma MP

Rob White, Reading Borough Councillor

Rev Robert Weston, Minister, Park United Reformed Church, East Reading

Rev Neil Warwick, Vicar, St Nicolas Church, Earley

Rev Ali Marshall, Minister, St John and St Stephen Church, Newtown

Maranda St John Nicolle, of Christian Concern for One World, Oxford

Additional Information:

Hunger is the greatest scandal of our age. It kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

One in eight people on our planet are hungry. Two million children die each year because of malnutrition. Yet we produce enough food to feed everyone.

The problem is not a shortage of food. There are deep inequalities and rigged rules in the food system that mean the hungry do not get the food they need to live.

The forces keeping people hungry include tax dodging, financial secrecy, land grabs and too little investment in small-scale agriculture.

Nearly 100 leading charities have joined together to demand an end to hunger. In June the G8 Summit comes to Britain. This is our chance to end the scandal of hunger. Our leaders will listen if we act together and act now.

We need you to join us to end the scandal of hunger. Enough Food for Everyone….

  • IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
  • IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
  • If governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
  • IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.We want our leaders to act on the four big issues that stop everyone getting enough food. Aid IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger, and help the poorest people feed themselves. Tax IF we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves of hunger. Land IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use crops to feed people, not fuel cars. Transparency IF we force governments and big corporations to be honest and open about the actions they take that stop people getting enough food.We want our leaders to act on the four big issues that stop everyone getting enough food. Aid IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger, and help the poorest people feed themselves. Tax IF we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves of hunger. Land IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use crops to feed people, not fuel cars. Transparency IF we force governments and big corporations to be honest and open about the actions they take that stop people getting enough food.We want our leaders to act on the four big issues that stop everyone getting enough food. Aid IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger, and help the poorest people feed themselves. Tax IF we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves of hunger. Land IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use crops to feed people, not fuel cars. Transparency IF we force governments and big corporations to be honest and open about the actions they take that stop people getting enough food.

The more of us involved then the greater the pressure we can put on world leaders to tackle these IFs in 2013. IF our leaders take action then we can start to have enough food for everyone.

To sign up to the campaign

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thanks for clearing snow and ice

I would like to say a very big thank you to Berkshire Islamic Information Group for their hard work clearing snow and ice at cemetery junction. An example to us all (see below for the video).

Also well done to other community minded residents who helped clear snow across Reading. Not to mention everyone else who helped out in many different ways.

For future reference – as I write this more snow is forecast – the Council does have capacity to support organised groups with snow clearance in priority areas by providing tools, grit, advice and supervision. Next time snow strikes if you are able to help please get in contact with the Council.

Monday, 21 January 2013

local group will help you make your house less draughty and warmer

Transition Town Reading were using me as a guinea pig last week for their draught-proofing project. See below for the press release.


Transition Town Reading are a community group who may be able to help you with draught-proofing your house.

They have obtained a grant from Reading Borough Council, as part of the Winter Watch project, to pay for materials for draught-proofing vulnerable residents' homes. The labour will be provided for free by volunteer, expert draught-proofers.

The group hopes to draught-proof many homes across the whole of Reading and increase skills and experience in this area locally. The initial phase of the scheme is aimed mainly at vulnerable people, but in the future the group hopes to be able to help a wider section of the community.

Project coordinator Tony Cowling said: "we have recently had another cold snap and many people across Reading will have struggled to heat their homes. Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save energy and money. Full draught-proofing will save you on average £55 per year. Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures – so you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat. This could save you another £60 per year."

Green councillor Rob White said: "it is criminal that some people are unable to afford to heat their homes. This is a really positive project to improve the quality of housing in Reading. I fully support it and was only too happy to act as a guinea pig."

If you are struggling with your fuel bills, or to keep your house warm, then the group would be interested in hearing from you.

For more information please contact Tony Cowling or Summreen at Reading Borough Council 0118 9372100.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Reading Green News – rail nationalisation, Reading East parliamentary candidate and Green leader visits Reading

Just send out our latest e-mail newsletter:

Hello all,

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all. Here is a New Year message from Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

We have also selected the Parliamentary candidate for Reading East.

Here is a brief update of other Green Party news:

Councillor Melanie Eastwood criticises foster care decision

Reading Green Party members attend anti-fracking demonstration

Green Party councillor labels council tax changes ‘poll tax mk.2’

Green Party MEP calls for rail nationalisation

Packed schedule for party leader’s visit to Reading and Wokingham

Greens welcome work to improve Cemetery Junction

If you've got any feedback, ideas or want to get more involved please get in touch.

Please feel free to forward this on to other interested people and as always, for more recent news from the Green Party, to join us, or to find out more about our policies, go to:

Best wishes

Rob White

Green Party councillor

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Reading living wage continues to move forwards

I just got an update on how Reading is getting on with the living wage work which we started a little while ago.

Progress includes:

– a commitment in the new procurement strategy, which is going to Cabinet next week, to prioritise applying a living wage to contacted out services
– the Council is investigating applying for living wage accreditation
– the Council is putting pressure on Chartwells to put its cooks and other school-based staff on a living wage

If more employers paid a living wage this would cut the benefits bill for those on a low wage!

Still a way to go, but good to hear that the Council is making progress.

Reading Green Party selects East parliamentary candidate

Reposting this from the Reading Green Party website:

Reading Green Party members have selected Green councillor Rob White as the parliamentary candidate for Reading East at the next general election.

Rob has previously stood in Reading East in 2005 and 2010.

Rob lives near cemetery junction in east Reading with his long-term partner. He has had a varied career including working with computers and gardening. He is currently a councillor in the east of Reading. He is also a school governor and active in the community volunteering on the East Reading Festival committee.

Rob joined the Green Party in 2003 after marching with 1 million people against the "unjust" invasion of Iraq masterminded by the then Labour government.

Rob was elected as the first ever Green councillor in Reading in 2010. As a local councillor he has addressed hundreds of issues every year, working with residents to improve the area. He has stood up for jobs and the local economy by pressing the council to cooperate better with small businesses. He has also championed fairness, leading the campaign for the council to apply the living wage more widely.

Rob White said: "we are in danger of a triple dip recession, bankers are returning to business as usual and the poor and vulnerable are being targeted through cuts to benefits. This coalition government is failing.

"It is the Greens who are the real policy opposition to the coalition, not Labour, who when in power continued Tory privatisation of the NHS, introduced tuition fees and started the sell-off of the Royal Mail; all policies which the coalition is continuing with.

"We speak for all those people who want policies that none of the big three are offering. We need an urgent u-turn on cuts to welfare for the most vulnerable, a halt to the slashing of vital public services, and investment in the economy to create jobs, upgrade our infrastructure and tackle climate change.

"Through hard work we have built solid support in east Reading and achieved much, but there is still plenty to do. The more people who get involved with the campaign, the bigger the difference we can make."

To get involved why not follow Rob White on Twitter @cllrrobwhite

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Get funding for green travel ideas…

This sounds like an innovative approach from the Council. Has anyone got any ideas?

"Charities, businesses, voluntary groups and residents in Reading who can come up with innovative ways to get people to consider more sustainable ways of travelling around town are being encouraged to bid for funding from Reading Borough Council.

Whether it's a local community group with an idea to help friends and neighbours walk or cycle more around their local neighbourhood, or a local businesses which has developed a proposal to encourage their workforce to choose greener ways of getting to work, the Council's Reading Sustainable Travel Challenge Fund could help get the project off the ground.

The Reading Sustainable Travel Challenge Fund is the latest initiative being funded by Reading Borough Council's successful £20 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid.

The aim is to finance innovative projects which will lead people in Greater Reading to consider alternative ways to travel around the town and increase their use of sustainable travel options which are both affordable and meet the needs of individuals, without detriment to the environment or future generations.

Any voluntary, community, charity, commercial organisation, group or club that proposes a project that successfully meets the fund's aim may apply. Grants will be between £500 and £50,000 for the 2013 application period. The total funding pot for 2013 is £150,000.

Interested parties are being asked to fill in and return a Large Grant Application Form if they are seeking more than £2,000. For groups or organisations seeking between £500 and £2,000 they need to fill in and return a Small Grant Application Form. Projects receiving grant funding must start by 31st March 2013.

Forms are available to download from Alternatively, groups or organisations can email, phone 0118 937 2653 or write to Reading Borough Council, Transport Strategy, Level 9, Civic Centre, Reading, RG1 7AE.

All application forms must be submitted by 5pm on Thursday, 28th February."

East Reading transport study public exhibition

A public exhibition on improving transport in east Reading will be held at St Lukes Parish Hall, Erleigh Road, on 24 January from 2:30 PM to 6:15 PM.

We think that in a compact town like Reading a large number of journeys should be possible through improved walking, cycling and public transport facilities.

There have been two transport study groups looking at this – and more – in east Reading – which have recently been rolled into one.

The Hospital and University group has been going for over a year and has resulted in a number of proposals: advisory cycle lanes, streetlight improvements, decluttering etc.

The Eastern Area Study – cemetery junction and the corridors leading up to it – has been going for less time. But has generated some ideas: cyclist priority areas at lights, joining up a cycle network, joining up the bus network etc.

More information in the Traffic Management Advisory Panel agenda.

Please come along to the exhibition where we will have detailed maps and transport planners to talk to.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

60 percent rise in people struggling with rent or mortgage!

Shelter do a great job providing all sorts of housing related advice. I have used them in the past myself and recommend them to others. See below for the e-mail they sent me.

"Shelter finds a 60 per cent rise in people struggling to pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months. As a result, almost a million people turned to a payday loan to help pay for their housing. These results reveal the spiral of debt that people are falling into, in order to keep a roof over their heads.

Please take these four actions to help people to find professional advice:

  1. Post a link to our online advice on your website:
  2. Encourage your caseworkers to bookmark our online advice pages, so they can refer to them when dealing with housing-related casework:
  3. Let your constituents know how to get help from Shelter via our online advice and free telephone helpline number: 0808 800 4444
  4. Tweet our online advice details or retweet us. You can find us here: @Shelter

For many, the New Year will bring further challenges. We're urging anyone worried about paying their rent or mortgage to seek out early housing advice as their New Year's resolution."

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Build a bridge to Mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

Reading is a diverse town with very good community cohesion. It is important that we all keep working to maintain and improve relations between communities. On this subject, Holocaust Memorial Day is coming up. See below for the Council press release:

"Reading will again this year host an evening of reflection to remember victims of the Holocaust with a special memorial event at the Civic Centre on Thursday January 24th.

The theme for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Communities Together: Build a Bridge.'

On the day, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is asking people across the UK to remember how hatred and persecution have fractured communities and turned neighbours against each other, and to emphasise the need for all people to show respect for others and to connect with others within our community.

The evening - which begins from 6.30pm - will include a presentation from Reading College Students on 'The Lessons We Learned from Auschwitz', as well as Journalist and Author Monica Porter, who will talk about her Mother, Hungarian actress Vali Racz, and her experiences during the Holocaust where she was amongst many who were responsible for saving Jewish lives.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and who will also be speaking at the event, said: 'Holocaust Memorial Day is about learning from the past to build a better future; it is about promoting equality, respect and understanding. This year, we are asking people to build bridges within their community by signing an online statement. We hope people used the day to consider the part they can play in creating a safer, better future."

The Reading Holocaust Memorial Day event has been organised by Reading Borough Council and ACRE (Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality). It is supported by Reading Hebrew Congregation, Reading Faith Forum, Reading Refugee Support Group, Zimbabwean Community in Reading, Reading Post and Valpee Printing Company.

Councillor Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: 'It is so important that we all make some time to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the divisions it caused. This annual memorial event acts as a good reminder on the need to respect people of all nationalities and backgrounds and to renew our resolve that we will work throughout the year to maintain community cohesion in Reading.'

Victor Koroma, Interim Manager of ACRE/RCRE, said 'We believe that by holding commemorative events for the Holocaust & Genocides we not only pay homage to past victims, we are also informed and sensitised to the consequences of extreme racial & religious hatred, and to incidents of human rights abuses. We must therefore remain vigilant in challenging bigoted views and working towards achieving a more cohesive society in Reading and beyond'.

A candle-lighting ceremony will take place on the night and entry to the service is free.

For more information, call Victor Koroma from Reading Council for Racial Equality on (0118) 951 0279 or


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

What have the Greens ever done for people in Park Ward? #rdg

I've just been playing with Google maps, and put the achievements from our election leaflet in 2012 onto a map to see how it works. What do you think?

View What have the Greens ever done for us in Park Ward, Reading? in a larger map

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Broken gym equipment at Palmer Park #rdg

A number of you have raised the issue of broken gym equipment in the Palmer Park gymnasium. Clearly if a person has paid for membership of a gym it seems reasonable that the equipment should be working. I have been pressing for action on this.

If you use the gym, please let me know if the situation improves or not.

See below for the reply from the Council:

"We have experienced a number of problems with the Gym equipment at Palmer Park Sports Stadium and for a period we looked to change the people we were using to undertake the servicing and repair work to the equipment in the gym. This was based upon both cost, but also an attempt to improve the response times to equipment failure.
Unfortunately during the period of time that we have been evaluating these options, we have both suffered a lot of equipment failure and found some other companies service is no better than the original suppliers. We have therefore now reverted back to Matrix as the suppliers of the equipment. They have now undertaken the majority of the repairs but frustratingly they are now reporting there is a problem with part availability for some pieces of equipment. As they are the original suppliers we are unlikely to be able to source parts from elsewhere.
We are continuing to chase Matrix to get all the equipment back in use as soon as possible and are discussing with them service level agreements in order to try to improve response times further. As pointed out by one of your constituents, we are also experiencing some problems with television signals or cabling. All three companies involved in this element of work are reporting it is not their equipment that is not working. We are continuing to try to resolve this urgently.
The staff are committed to delivering high quality customer service and can only apologise if the constituents did not receive the feedback they should expect."