Disability day

Karen Neville

Berkshire

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

Full of pride

Round & About

Berkshire

There’s extra reason to take pride in the Royal Borough as The Lions of Windsor & Maidenhead 2019 sculptures go on display for the next three months.

The public art event will feature a giant pride of super-sized lions displayed from 10th August to 27th October to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria and raise funds for local charities.

The colourful individual lions are sponsored by a range of businesses and organisations and have been decorated by leading artists, designers and illustrators. There’s also a mini pride of lion cubs which have been decorated by schools across the area.

The display also has a serious message with the aim of highlighting the plight of lions, which have become endangered with only 15,000 left in the wild.

The pride will go on show on the streets of Windsor, Eton, Ascot, Datchet, Maidenhead and beyond for the duration before being auctioned off for charity.

You’ll be able to ‘go on safari’ and follow the lion trail with maps available from the start of August and take a tour of the borough visiting the noble beasts on the streets.

The lions were created by sculptor Alan Dun who had previously created the Lions of Bath in 2010 and last year’s Owls of Bath.

Having shaped and moulded the original lion, a fibreglass mould was made to create the prototype from which the pride was born.
He also sculpted the lion cub to be decorated by schools, charities and community groups to then display on the trail.

Once the lions are taken off display they will be restored by the artists and then gathered together for one last roar goodbye on 9th and 10th November before the charity auction on 21st November.

All proceeds from the auction will go to local charities – Thames Hospice which provides care for people with life-limiting illnesses in East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire; Windsor Lions Club which helps a wide range of people and organisations in the community; Look Good Feel Better equips people to face cancer with confidence and wildlife charity Tusk.

Lions represent nobility, royalty, strength and stateliness so are the perfect choice for the Royal Borough and to raise awareness of their decline – over the past 50 years, the number of wild lions in Africa have fallen from 200,000 to less than 15,000. Tusk, which is working to highlight the decrease in numbers, has declared 2019 to be the Year of the Lion.

Find out more

Visit the Lions of Windsor site

Right at Home

Round & About

Berkshire

The Right at Home Reading & Wokingham District Team have earned a well-deserved round of applause after scooping two awards recently.

The team won a Top20 Homecare Provided 2019 Award for being one of the top 20 homecare providers out of 1,358 agencies in South East England.

And this award came hot on the heels of the Twyford-based company being given a 5 Star Employer 2019 award. This award came from independent research agency WorkBuzz after an extensive survey of Right at Home employees.

Right at Home managing director Kevin Lancaster is quite rightly delighted at the success. He said: “When I opened the 50th UK Right at Home in Twyford I was determined to build a care company of the highest quality, delivering at a level that I would be proud to offer my own family.

“It’s heart-warming to get such great independent feedback from our employees, clients and their families that our approach to providing care is working so well with our local community and our super team.”

Right at Home is the only Top20 Homecare Award Winner in both the Reading and Wokingham area, and the Reading & Wokingham branch joins nearby Right at Home Maidenhead as one of only three homecare companies in the whole of Berkshire with a 10/10 rating on the homecare.co.uk independent review website.

For more information

Visit the Right at Home site

Active Reading

Round & About

Berkshire

People are being invited to take part in a Reading Council consultation called ‘Active Reading’ in which it aims to help develop healthy, active lifestyles.

One in three adults in Reading do not take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity – particularly among young people – is a health priority.

As part of the public consultation, the council is asking people what would help them lead more active lives.

It is particularly keen to hear from people who are not currently active to find out what barriers prevent them from leading healthier lives. It also wants to hear from people who are active to find out what works for them and what they think could be improved.

The council is committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading including a £30million investment in two modern new swimming pools.

In addition, the council’s recent Public Health Services consultation, which launched in 2018, identified how Reading’s range of parks and open spaces were particularly important in providing a place for people to exercise and improve their well-being and £2.8million will be invested in this over the next five years.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead member for health, wellbeing and sport, said: “One of the most important things we can do is to help people lead more active and healthy lives.

“Lack of physical activity contributes a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, with obesity now the cause of as many cases of cancer as smoking. It can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.

“We know there are many residents who regularly enjoy sports and being active, whether it’s taking a regular swim or joining in with team sports or working out at the gym. Leisure isn’t just about sport in leisure centres and gyms though. It can be anything from getting out and about in Reading’s many parks and green spaces, walking or cycling instead of using the car, taking part in a dance class or trying a new activity like yoga. Regular exercise helps keep people healthier and happier.”

He added: “As part of the consultation we have launched this week, we are really keen to hear from people who don’t currently lead active lives. If that is you or your family, we want to know how we can help you to get you more active and how can we encourage you to try new sports or activities. If you already take part in sport or physical activity, we want to know what works for you and what you would like to see improved.”

As well as an online consultation, there will be face to face survey work undertaken across the town and targeted work with key focus groups in the community.

All responses received will be used to create a future vision for the sports and leisure offer in Reading.

The results of the consultation will be published in the autumn.

Please help by taking part

Take part in the consultation which runs until 14th August here

August’s recipes: Sophie’s choice

Round & About

Berkshire

Chef & TV star Sophie Grigson shares two recipes ahead of her food & photography courses starting next month…

Fougasse

(Prep: 130 mins – Prooving: 90 mins – Cooking: 25 mins – Serves: 6)

Ingredients:

• 450g strong white bread flour
(I use a Canadian strong white)
• One sachet easy-blend /
fast-action yeast
(or 14g fresh yeast)
• One teaspoon salt
• Three or four tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil, plus
extra for preparation
• Either 150g lardons or 70g black olives, pitted and sliced
• One or two teaspoons dried thyme, or oregano, or finely chopped fresh rosemary

Method:

Make a soft bread dough. In other words, mix flour, yeast, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Add enough tepid water to make a soft slightly sticky dough (around 300ml). Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes, working in a little extra flour or water if required. The final dough should be as smooth as satin, and delightfully soft and fairly floppy. If it feels heavy or over-firm, knead in a little more water to relax it.

Roll into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn until evenly coated in oil. Cover with cling film, or a plastic bag, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. Oil a baking sheet generously. Oil the palms of your hands, then turn the dough out on to an oiled worksurface. Knead briefly for a few minutes to smooth out.

Now spread out on the work surface and cover with lardons (no need to precook) or olives, and the herbs. Fold the sides and ends over the filling, then knead again until evenly incorporated. Transfer the dough to the baking tray and spread out to form a mega leaf shape. Using a sharp cutter, make a long cut from tip to stem without cutting right through to the edges. Next make three cuts on either side, like the veins of a leaf. Lift the sides and gently pull away from the centre to open up the cuts (remember the dough will expand when cooking). Spread a little more oil over the fougasse, then cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for another half an hour or so. Remove the cling film.

Place a baking sheet in the oven, then preheat the oven to 200 C/Gas Mark 6. Place the fougasse tray directly on top of the hot tray in the oven, and then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Girasole with spinach, ricotta & pancetta

(Prep: 30 mins – Prooving: 90 mins – Cooking: 25 mins – Serves: Pleanty!)

Ingredients:

• 500g puff pastry
• A little plain flour for rolling
• One egg yolk

Filling:

• 250g fresh spinach
• One onion, chopped
• 75g pancetta lardons
• A splash of olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 90g freshly grated Parmesan
• 250g ricotta
• ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and pepper

 

Method:

Cook the spinach lightly, then leave to cool and drain in a colander set over a bowl. Fry the onion and pancetta in a little oil, over a moderate heat, until onion is very tender. Add the garlic and cook for a minute
or so longer. Let them cool.
Now back to the spinach. Squeeze it hard to get rid of all that water, then squeeze it a bit more. Chop finely. Mix all the filling ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Mix the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Preheat oven to 220C/200Fan/Gas 7. Now divide the pastry in two and roll each one out thinly to form a square. Using a large plate to guide you, cut out two circles. Lay one on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Take a cup, turn it upside down in the middle of the pastry. Press down gently so the edges print a neat circle in the middle of the pastry. Lift the cup off. Mound about a third of the filling in the middle of the inner circle. Use the rest to make a ring around the outer part of the pastry.

Brush the edges and the bare ring around the central mound with the egg wash. Carefully lift the second circle of pastry over on top of the first. Use your cup to gently press the pastry down around the mound. Leave it there. Seal the outer pastry layer.

Make 16 evenly spaced cuts from the rim of the cup out to the edge of the pastry. Twist each section through 90 degrees, always twisting in the same direction. Lift off the cup – it’s done its job now. Brush the pastry with the egg wash, then slide into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190C/170 Fan/ Gas 5. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Eat warm.

Reading Fringe

Karen Neville

Berkshire

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

Get ready for Readipop

Karen Neville

Berkshire

The friendly music festival is back in Caversham with another great line-up

Reading’s friendly homegrown music and arts festival is back at Christchurch Meadows from 12th to 14th July.

And this year Readipop Festival is set to host the biggest line-up yet including headliners the Brand New Heavies, Sleeper and The Orb.

Reggae chart toppers Musical Youth and 80s Indie group The Primitives also feature alongside Fuzzbox, Mark Chadwick from The Levellers and Mark Morriss of The Bluetones.

Grammy nominees are set to rub shoulders beside artists behind almost 80 top 40 UK hits, Radio 1 and 6Music staples as well as a huge range of local Reading acts.

In addition to the music, there’ll be circus performances from Aim to Fly UK and workshops, an Indie market courtesy of Etsy and Thames Rivercruise boat trips to enjoy as well as much more.

All profit from the festival goes to help Readipop’s charity music projects in the area.

Readipop works to make a positive difference to people’s lives by developing creativity and developing communities. Their work often includes reaching out to socially excluded people and emerging artists.

The charity, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, offers a variety of projects for young people including sessions with experienced mentors, intensive week-long courses for NEETs and a range of workshops. It also offers programmes in primary and secondary schools as well as projects for adults and older people such as community bands, choirs and bands for retired people and concerts in care homes.

Weekend tickets for Readipop Festival are £40, with day tickets from £18 to £23 available until 30th June (under 14s free with adults).

Find out more

For more information and to get tickets visit the Readipop website

 

Wisley garden

Karen Neville

Berkshire

Make the most of the longer evenings thanks to some highlights this month at RHS Garden Wisley in Woking

Various events “after hours” at RHS Wisley should have you enjoying summer to its fullest. Quad Cinema will screen three films from 11th – 13th July including Mamma Mia, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman.

On Wednesday, 17th July, join Surrey Bat Group for an evening walk, and on 24th July pet owners can bring their dogs for walkies. On 26th visitors can enjoy and evening stroll and some live music in the garden until 9pm. There will also be an open-air theatre performance of The Wind in the Willows on Sunday, 28th, at 5.30pm.

Fuchsias are the focus of the Glasshouse display at RHS Garden Wisley from 6th July to 18th August, with a colourful display from Wisley’s fuchsia collection. The Glasshouse Gallery hosts the Carnivorous Plant Society for its show between 20th and 21st July with talks, advice, sales and a special presentation each day at 11an and 3pm entitled The Natural History of Carnivorous Plants.

Jazz in the Garden will take place each Saturday afternoon, 1-4pm at RHS Garden Wisley, when Chi Jazz entertain Wisley visitors from the Butterfly Pavillion. RHS Garden Wisley invites you to help celebrate 50 years of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with some fun family adventures in the Garden. They will also explore lifecycles and help children understand where their food comes from and how it grows.

Info

RHS Wisley, GU23 6QB; call 01483224234, email [email protected] or visit their website

Love tennis!

Karen Neville

Berkshire

Wimbledon starts today (1st July) so expect to see more people out with their tennis rackets and more strawberries being eaten.

There are so many ways to get involved in the sport with many clubs holding open days giving you the opportunity to give the game a try for yourself.

Abingdon

Among those encouraging you to do just that is Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club which aside from the physical benefits of the game is keen to stress the social side of the game too – whether you want to play competitively or just for fun, it really is suitable for everyone from three to 83.

The Lawn Tennis Association has served up a plan to widen the appeal of the sport with TENNIS Opened Up promoting its appeal to players of any age, ability, background and fitness level with various schemes available as well as mini tennis for youngsters. All of these can be catered for at ALTC.

A great way to try the game for yourself or as a re-introduction is to try out ALTC’s open day for free on Sunday, 23rd June at Southern Town Park, Lambrick Way, a week before Wimbledon starts and tennis fever grips the nation. Once you’re hooked the club offers twice weekly club nights for non-members as well as holding team matches, intra-club singles leagues and coaching sessions throughout the year.

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club boasts five men’s, five women’s and five mixed teams in addition to formal and social tournaments and in 2018 was named Oxfordshire Club of the Year, recognised for its growth in player numbers, coaching, inclusion and innovation.
The friendly, welcoming club has no playing standard requirements just a great love for the game which they want to pass on.

Henley

Teach Me Tennis offer coaching for juniors from the age of three and a comprehensive adult programme based at Peppard Tennis Club just outside Henley-on-Thames. 
They run sessions based around low player to coach ratios so they can ensure all children get lots of quality instruction and feedback. Their belief is that all players should learn not only to hit a ball but also the skills and information needed to play a match whatever their age or on court experience. Term-time sessions run every day after school and on Saturdays starting from age three, with popular tennis camps running during the school holidays for children aged 4+. Play continues all year round on six all-weather courts with floodlights and a modern clubhouse.

Contact Teach Me Tennis for more information on  01491 728080, email [email protected] or visit the website at www.teachmetennis.co.uk

Bradfield

Another opportunity to give tennis a try is available at Bradfield Tennis Centre at Bradfield College Sports Complex near Reading.
It offers world class coaching to players of all ages and abilities. The coaching team firmly believes in “tennis for life”, and welcomes children of all ages to engage in this truly enriching sport.

All of the highly qualified LTA accredited + coaching team have a desire to pass on their knowledge to inspire children to develop a love of the game through on court drills covering the four pillars of tennis – technical, tactical, physical and mental.

Tennis at Bradfield is a sport for everyone to enjoy and provides pathways towards representing the centre in local leagues as well as county, regional, national and international competitions. The team encourages juniors to come for taster sessions prior to committing to the programme and looks forward to welcoming players over the summer holidays in the fun and energetic camps.

Adult tennis players of all abilities are catered for at Bradfield Tennis Centre with courses for beginners, intermediate and team players.
Should you not wish to receive coaching, why not sign up to our extremely popular cardio tennis sessions, which are great for improving fitness levels, you could burn off up to 800 calories per session!

The world class Plexi – Pave indoor and outdoor clay court facilities are open for members and non-members to hire.
To book or for more information please call 0118 964 4600 or 0118 964 4603 or visit www.bradfieldsportscomplex.co.uk

Visit Wimbledon's website

Get into gear

Karen Neville

Berkshire

Join Wokingham Bikeathon on 30th June and take on 15 or 35 mile route

This year’s Wokingham Bikeathon on Sunday, 30th June, is literally bigger than ever – in addition to the 15-mile route, there’s a 35-mile challenge for riders to take on as well.

The new relatively flat route should be an easy ride and at an average speed of 12 miles per hour, should take about three hours to cycle.

This longer distance builds on the success of the bikeathon which started in 2008 with just 143 riders – since that time thousands have taken part with the invaluable help of volunteers, local businesses, charities and organisations.

Run by a committee, headed by Wokingham ‘champion’ Stan Hetherington the original aim was to get people out on their bikes and enjoy the local area, over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting.

Money from entries each year goes back into the event for the following year with any surplus after covering bills going to good causes.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to saddle up, with many cycling as families. For these the 15-mile route is perfect, it provides the quietest route for families, is easy and should take around 60-90 minutes to complete. There is a drinks stop at 9.3miles with snacks available too.

Over the years it has developed into a vehicle for fundraising with many charities benefitting

Course split points will be used to highlight where the route divides between the 15 and 35 mile courses. For those taking on the longer distance, there’s a drinks stop at 19 miles.

Registration is open now for those wishing to do so online but you can just turn up at Cantley Park on the day.

Get involved!

For all the important information you need to take part and to register in advance