Health clinic

Karen Neville

A new child health clinic has opened in Reading offering integrated services for families and children under five. 

Weekly well-baby clinics will be held, including advice sessions with the health visiting team, a self-weigh drop in service and  regular health checks by appointment. More services are planned to follow at the old Salvation Army building at the Castle Hill roundabout.

The health visiting service offers a universal programme to all families from ante-natal through to when the child reaches school age including assessments during the first 30 months of a child’s life.

Drop in well-baby clinics are also offered to families with children under five to receive support and advice on child health, growth and development.

The new central clinic in Anstey Road has been created as part of a wider review of the health visiting service across Reading.

Further changes are also planned for Southcote Community Hub, Sun Street Youth and Community Centre, Ranikhet Children’s Centre and Whitley Health Centre, Caversham Children’s Centre and Battle Library – check locally with those.

A duty health visitor telephone/email advice line will operate Monday to Friday. View the button below for a link to online resources.

Lead councillor for health, wellbeing and sport, Cllr Graeme Hoskin said: “The new Salvation Army child health centre will offer Well Baby Clinics alongside a host of other advice and support services for families in a convenient central Reading location.

“The review of the Health Visiting Service has focused on making the best use of limited resources and ensuring that those who need the service most have easy access to clinics either by foot or by public transport.

“The mandated five baby health checks will continue to be held in all our centres and the popular Duty Health Visitor phone line and email will also be available to families as well as support and advice on the Berkshire Healthcare website.”

National Allotments Week

Karen Neville

Allotment holders all over will be rejoicing this week – it’s National Allotments Week, 12th to 18th, and this year the National Allotment Society is celebrating the shared harvest from plots.

Every growing season plants produce more crops than any plot-holder can freeze, pickle or jam so don’t be surprised if you see your growing colleagues arrive at work with baskets of plums, sticks of rhubarb or plastic bags full of green beans.

Many will also share their excess with good causes and this year many have also been looking at donating to food banks.

National Allotments Week started in 2002 to raise awareness of allotments and how they help people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and boost communities.

Growing, cooking, eating and sharing home-grown food is just one benefit of allotment life and while there can sometimes be a long wait for plots in some areas, don’t be put off, get on a list for a plot near you and start planning.

Among the local allotment associations taking part are:

Alton Allotments Association, Farmers Market stall, High Street, Alton – Saturday, 10th August, 10am-2pm

Wokingham Allotment Association, Ormonde Road Allotments, Wokingham – Saturday, 10th August, 2-4pm. Enjoy an open day, entertainment, competitions, tea and cake

Pangbourne Allotments, Grahame Avenue, off Kennedy Drive – Saturday, 17th August, 10am-noon. There’s an open morning, allotment tours, information on bee keeping, demonstrations of hand pumps for children, produce stall and refreshments

On a larger scale over the next few months

Visit the Royal County of Berkshire Show at Newbury on 21st and 22nd September where you’ll find a grow your own section for the chance to show off fruit, veg and preserves.

In Surrey in October you can visit RHS Wisley Taste of Autumn from 16th to 20th and enjoy the best of the season with a harvest celebration. The orchard will be laden with fruit and there’ll be a range of local and artisan food and drink.

Disability day

Karen Neville

Event at The Oracle promotes disability awareness

Reading residents are invited to a family event which aims to promote disability awareness, with a wide range of activities on offer.

Reading’s Physical Disability and Sensory Needs Network (PDSN) is hosting the Disability Awareness Day 2019 tomorrow, Thursday 15th August, under the theme of ‘Staying Healthy – Mind & Body.’

The free event at The Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading will run from 11am to 3pm and will offer fun, interactive and informative sessions.

A wide range of activities will be on offer for all age groups and abilities, including blood pressure checks from the Stroke Association, lip reading learner sessions and hearing tests from Action on Hearing Loss, shoulder & neck massages, as well as musical entertainment.

For further information and/or additional support at the event, please contact [email protected] or call 0118 937 2383.

Simone Illger is chair of the PDSN (Physical Disability and Sensory Needs Network) and a disabled Reading resident. She said: “There is so much on offer at our event this year – with some great activities and stalls offering advice and support. I’d really encourage people to stop by and find out more.”

Have your say!

Today is also the last day for you to have your say in a consultation called Active Reading which aims to help develop healthy, active lifestyles. To find out more and have your say

Parade with Pride

Karen Neville

Woking is the venue for the first Pride event to take place in Surrey and Woking couldn’t be prouder to be hosting the celebration.

The colourful vibrant parade will start at HG Wells Conference Centre, when accompanied by the Mayor of Woking it will pass through the town gates and around the centre.

From midday the gates will open in Woking Park where you can enjoy live entertainment on the big stage until 10pm. There will be a large family/youth zone including activities, workshops, face paint and support guidance as well as food and drink stalls and local traders.

The chairman of Pride in Surrey, Stephen Ireland said not only does this year mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall but also now the first year of an LGBT+ Pride event in Surrey.

He said: “I am thrilled to be working with such a supportive council and Outline Surrey to not only create an amazing event but also raise awareness of the available support to those within the community.”

Mayor of Woking, cllr Will Forster, said they were delighted Woking will host the inaugural Pride in Surrey parade on Saturday, 10th August.

He said: “It is another example of Woking’s growing reputation for hosting colourful and inclusive annual events.

“Pride in Surrey celebrates the inclusion and diversity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) culture and community within Surrey.”

Want to go?

Tickets are required for the event in Woking Park, they are free to all but organisers need you to register to plan for your health and safety.

For more information

Cycle to work day

Karen Neville

Today is the day to get on your bike and take part in the UK’s biggest cycle community event.

Cycle to Work Day is for everyone whether you haven’t cycled for years or are never off your bike, this is about giving it a go.

Since its launch in 2012, thousands of enthusiastic riders have hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling – and all you need to take part is a bike, new or old, and the desire to ride.

You can cycle on your own or get your colleagues involved – however you do it and however far you go, it’s all about having fun!
Cycle to Work Day runs on Cyclescheme’s Love to Ride community and even if you’re not taking part in today’s challenge but are interested in getting out on two wheels it’s well worth a look at here Cycle Scheme

The Government scheme allows you to save between 25 and 39 per cent on a new bike for work.

Cycling has experienced a huge growth in popularity in recent years and is a fun and effective form of exercise as well as being great for the environment.

Cycling improves your mental well-being as well as your physical health and helping weight loss. It also promotes better lung health, can help cut heart disease and the risk of cancer and the low impact means it has lower injury rates than running.

Did you also know cycling can help you sleep better, it can boost your brain power and even improve your sex life?

And if all that didn’t give you good enough reasons to give cycling a go then how about it growing your social circle too? Joining a club or group is a great way to make new friends and share a common interest too.

Say hello

Do you tend to pass horse riders on your journey? Read about the scheme that has been introduced to Surrey Hills to help cyclists, horses and their riders get along

Normandy 75

Karen Neville

A new exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy campaign telling the courageous stories of soldiers who fought there and during D-Day, opens today.

Normandy 75: Oxfordshire to the Orne will go on display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum until 3rd November and will combine a travelling exhibition from the National Army Museum with stories staff at the museum have gathered from around Oxfordshire.

The stories will be told through objects, a map of key locations, quotes from Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire born soldiers who served on D-Day and beyond.

Soldiers from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were among the first to set foot in Normandy on 6th June 1944 and were instrumental in the capture of Pegasus Bridge in the early hours, before the beach landings.

Visitors can sit inside a life-size reproduction of a Horsa Gilder’s compartment and listen to recorded interviews with D-Day veterans.

The museum’s collections manager Peggy Ainsworth said: “In addition to our own regimental stories, we wanted to use this exhibition as a way to represent the local soldiers who contributed to the Normandy campaign.

“There have been many fascinating stories coming in from the public, which we will be telling through artefacts from our collection and information gained thorough our Stories of Conflict and County campaign launched last year.”

The exhibition of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in the grounds of the Oxfordshire Museum, Park Street, Woodstock, will end with a special collecting day on 2nd November. The We’ll Meet Again collections day will encourage the public to bring objects to the museum and tell their stories of Oxfordshire from the Second World War to the 1970s. Items donated or loaned will be used to form the Second World War and Reminiscence displays.

Exhibition

The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum is open from Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 11am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm.

For more information

Presence, Cornerstone

Karen Neville

Kate Aries

Four emerging Oxford based artists are showcasing their work in an exhibition at Didcot’s Cornerstone.

Presence is a group exhibition featuring the work of Kate Aries, Manon Franklin-Fraiture, James Lester and Jack Whitney.
Combining drawing, textile, illustration and digital artworks, the artists have created new works that question what is means to exist in the contemporary world, physically, sexually, virtually and digitally.

Visitors will be able to engage with works perceptually and/or physically, encouraging them to also contemplate these questions.
Kate Aries explores perception and illusion through experimentation with the camera, using different techniques to obscure and restrict her body. Kate’s practice focuses not only on embodied experience, but also the manipulated and processed image in our changing society.

James Lester
Jack Whitney
Manon Franklin-Fraiture

Manon Franklin-Fraiture’s quirky illustrations incorporate conversations and questions she overhears and brings them to life, shining a light on how human existence can be in our modern life.
James Lester is a portraiture artist whose work contemplates the shaping of humanity within a modern context. Throughout the duration of the exhibition James will be creating large-scale charcoal murals of an array of celebrity figures, offering visitors the chance to watch the artist in action.

Jack Whitney’s practice challenges normative notions of gender, sexuality and politics, for this exhibition Jack has used embroidery as a way of drawing humorous yet thought provoking images.

Exhibition

Presence runs from today, 6th, until 18th August and is free to attend.

Visit the Cornerstone site for more information about this or any of the other productions on.

Clothes swap

Karen Neville

I expect like most people you’ve got wardrobes and cupboards full of clothing you never wear? 

A global study in 2018 by removals company Movinga found most of us do not wear 50 per cent of the clothes they own

Hands up if you’re guilty of that, with many in this country owning clothes they haven’t worn for a year.

Help is at hand from Environment Trust, a charity based in South West London, which is encouraging local people to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry by attending their first ever Clothes Swap event on 2nd August at the ETNA Centre in Twickenham.

Tickets for the event support the charity’s vital conservation work and cost £10 per person. People are asked to donate between 4 and 10 items of clothing and will be able to take home a new outfit of the same number of items. The event includes drinks, nibbles, fashion tips, raffle and more, all while being sustainable.

Sophie Norden, fundraising and partnership manager at Environment Trust, says, “We are increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. In fact, it is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry, and the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.

“However, there are solutions and alternatives to address these problems. The first step lies in building awareness and having the willingness to change.

“We hope to help people make this change with our first Clothes Swap and bring along clothes they no longer want.”

Clothes for all the ages and genders welcome, and donated clothes should be washed and in good condition. Clothes will also be accepted on the night and additional items welcome for a ‘to purchase’ rack.

Environment Trust encourages clothes donations to be dropped at the ETNA Centre, 13 Rosslyn Road, St Margaret’s in Twickenham, TW1 2AR ahead of the event, kindly named if participating and, if possible, on hangers.

More information

To find out more about the event and to book your place

Cheese & Chilli Festival

Karen Neville

If you want to spice up your Sunday then try out the hottest ticket in town – or in Guildford at least – and get along to the Cheese & Chilli Festival in Guildford.

This will be the festival’s fourth year with a whole host of activities for all ages including free cooking demos, a taste tent, beer festival, street theatre, live music, crazy golf, human-sized table football as well as lots of cheese and chilli.

Taking place in Shalford Park today (21st), you’ll be able to enjoy the man v food challenge and a Ready Steady Cook interactive cooking session as well as the chilli eating competition when things will really be hotting up!

And what could be better after you’ve eaten some good hot chillis than taking part in a game of human-sized table football – strap yourself in and attach yourself to a metal bar and swing.

If you prefer something more sedate there are a variety of stalls, a magic show, Punch & Judy show, balloon modelling and treasure hunts to entertain the kids.

As an extra special treat at the Guildford event, there’s the chance to be a VIP with two special price tickets (£50 and £100) offering you the chance to enjoy cocktails, beers, Mexican or Thai lunch, access to the hot tubs and a bottle of hot sauce and limited edition poster.

Get your tickets

For more information and to buy tickets which cost £8 adults, seniors £6 and under 16s free, visit the Cheese & Chilli Festival website below

Tickets can also be bought at the door or in advance at Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre.

Reading Fringe

Karen Neville

Reading Fringe Festival is under way and over the next nine days you can enjoy comedy, drama, art, music, theatre, walks and much much more.

“The most eclectic line-up of events yet” is set to take Reading by storm as the Reading Fringe Festival hits town with more than 80 shows to choose from.

As well as surprising shows, they’ll be popping up at some surprising venues too with an orchestra at Reading station and yoga at the Abbey Ruins among others.

Reading Fringe features a host of local, national and international performers for 10 days of comedy, music, film, family fun theatre, art, walks and much more from 19th to 28th July.

This year’s festival has the theme of Into the Woods and Beyond and one of its stars will be the flagship venue of Reading Minster which will host everything from Irish dancing to ‘bring your own baby’ comedy afternoons for new parents.

A conversation with some of Reading’s refugees, a commission with artists from Norway and an evening of songs from musicals are among some of the other treats for visitors.

We truly believe there is something for everyone

There’s live music and family fun at the Oracle Riverside and the Vue Cinema will hold the film festival for the first time.

Cabaret, comedy and drama are on offer at the pentahotel, the Purple Turtle, After Dark, the Three Guineas, South Street and the Rising Sun. Music comes in genres to suit every taste including jazz, rap, steampunk, folk, soul, classic and a capella.

There’s plenty of entertainment too for younger Fringe goers who won’t want to miss out on the singing snails at the very least!
Festival director Zsuzsi Lindsay said they are “beyond excited” with the programme for this year’s festival. She added: “We truly believe there is something for everyone – whether you are a comedy fan, an art aficionado, a film fanatic, looking to keep the kids entertained  during the holidays or none or all of the above!”

Find out more

Visit the Reading Fringe Festival website for full details of the programme