Disability day

Karen Neville

Community

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

Right at Home

Round & About

Community

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

Community shop

Round & About

Community

Visit summer market ad find out what makes Hampstead Norreys Community Shop an award winner

Congratulations to the Hampstead Norreys Community Shop which has been named south east regional winner in the village shop/post office category of the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The awards dubbed the ‘rural Oscars’ are now in the 14th year and recognise the skills, produce, tradition, enterprise and the people behind the businesses.

All the regional winners in five categories – local food/drink; butcher; rural enterprise; pub and village shop/post office – will now attend the national final at the House of Lords in June to see who will be crowned the overall champion.

The community shop and café opened in 2011 and has become the hub of the village. As well as stocking a wide range of groceries at good prices there are a range of ‘made for Hampstead Norreys’ goods such as jam and marmalade and items that make good presents. And if they don’t have what you want, they’ll try to get it for you!

Speciality bread comes from Hetherton’s in Newbury, meat and fish from Vicars Game of Ashampstead as well as locally produced fruit, veg and free-range eggs.

This amazing community shop has also introduced Paypoint, has a prescription drop off and collection service and allows you to have parcels delivered there too.

And they say if there are other services you would like to see introduced just speak to the manager Mandy and they’ll do their best to help.

The courtyard café serves delicious foods for breakfast and lunch and if you have any specific dietary requirements let chef Jamie know  and he’ll do his best to help.

If you’ve not discovered this village treasure yet then make sure you visit the summer market on Saturday, 1st June. There’ll be more than 30 stalls including food and drink from Noi’s Thai Kitchen and Tutts Clump Cider, health and beauty, arts and crafts, homemade cakes, fashion and jewellery, live music and Armadillo Images in the orange tent.

Admission is free, there’s parking and toilet facilities.  
Pop along and see for yourself and find out what makes the community shop so worthy of its regional award.

Fingers crossed for the national final!

Find out more about the Countryside Alliance Awards

Photo: Manager Mandy and chef Jamie celebrate the community shop’s 8th birthday earlier this year

Street parties

Round & About

Community

Don’t miss out on your chance to party in Reading

If you want to get your friends and neighbours together this summer for a street party you only have a week left to get your application in to Reading Borough Council. 

Communities are being invited to hold a get together without paying the usual road closure fees but must complete and return a form by Monday, 22nd April.

There are three weekends in June and July when residents are being invited to hold street parties for the Big Lunch on the weekend of Saturday 1st/Sunday 2nd June, The Great Get Together on Saturday 22nd/Sunday 23rd June and  Reading Summer Street Party Weekend on Saturday 6th/Sunday 7th July.

The Great Get Together is a chance for communities up and down the country to get together to celebrate kindness, respect and all we have in common, and was inspired by MP Jo Cox who was killed in June 2016.

The  Reading  Summer Street Party Weekend is an extra opportunity for local communities and neighbours to spend some time together.
Councillor Tony Page,  Reading’s lead  councillor for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: “It is important to recognise the many things we all have in common and to come together to celebrate our communities.

“We often only catch a glimpse of our neighbours as we go about our every-day business so this is an opportunity to stop and get to know the people living in our street.

“As in previous years, the  council  is keen to help enable these street parties by waiving the usual road closure fees and I would encourage residents to get their applications in as soon as possible.”

Anyone who wishes to apply to hold a street party on any of the specified weekends should complete the form available at www.reading.gov.uk/streetparties  and send it to: Street Parties, Communications Department,  Reading  Borough  Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street,  Reading, RG1 2LU.

Permission will normally be given, without the usual road-closure fees, subject to it not affecting a main through-route or public transport route.

The deadline for applications is 22nd April 2019. 

  Helpful tips, advice and support for organising a successful event can be found on the Street Party website  and The Big Lunch website 

Bracknell ice skating stars

Round & About

Community

Congratulations to three talented young couples from Bracknell Ice Skating Club who have done so well in the British Figure Skating Championships.

Emily Phillips and Jayin Panesar (right) are British Champions 2018 in the advanced novice category with a total score of 101.68.

Siblings Katya and Alex Fairbridge are British Champions 2018 in the intermediate category. This skating couple are aged 12 and 15 respectively and skated two pattern dances which, combined with their free dance, gave them a gold winning score of 56.20. The Fairbridges follow in the footsteps of the famous Olympic Ice Dance Couple Torvill and Dean who won the same trophy in 1994.

Krista Good and Advay Chopra entered the Championships as beginners and came third overall in the basic novice level, coming second in their pattern dances and third in the free dance. They are a new couple to ice dance and are thrilled.

All three couples are coached by Lucine Chakmakjian and David Phillips who have coached at Bracknell for 20 years and produced multiple British Champions in skating.
David Phillips says: “What a phenomenal achievement for these skaters who have worked so hard and given up so much to follow their dreams. They have made Bracknell Ice Rink, their parents and us very proud.”

Lizz Nelhams, Bracknell Skating Club Chairwoman adds: “We are so impressed by the Bracknell skaters who took part in the championships. They are all dedicated skaters and deserve these superb results. We look forward to seeing them continue their development at Bracknell Ice Rink.”

Bracknell Ice Skating Club is one of the UK’s largest and most active clubs and hosts a weekly Ice Ability session.

  For more information visit www.bracknell-ice-skating-club.co.uk

Literature lovers: events in Wokingham

Round & About

Community

Janet Ferguson explains why you should join Wokingham Literary Society and some of the highlights to tempt you this month.

Looking for something new to do during those long dark winter evenings?

Wokingham Literary Society will begin the New Year on Thursday, 17th January, with a talk by Martin Hughes entitled Comedy Thrillers.

The speaker will explain that it is far more common to hear the phrase “comedy thriller” referring to films than books. For comedy, do we need pictures as well as words? Is it because of the ability of pictures to combine attractive people and amusing lifestyles amid sad and scary events while words alone remain too close to the event’s sad and serious nature? Martin will look mainly at three books which amuse us even amid their thriller plots; Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man, Christopher Brookmyre’s The Sacred Art of Stealing, and P.G.Wodehouse’s Summer Lightning.

The society’s second speaker on Thursday, 31st January is Jill Swale who will look at The Language of Persuasion – the techniques from famous speeches, literature and the press. Jill plans to explain why Tony Blair’s “Education, education, education”, Neil Armstrong’s “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address (“of the people, by the people, for the people”), are so effective and well-remembered. She’ll look at how writers use loaded language and rhetorical questions to sway the reader, appealing to particular emotions.

New members and visitors welcome. £2 on the door.

Young minds

Liz Nicholls

Community

Kevin Leivers of The Naked Pharmacy explains how parents can help boost children’s mental health to cope with their learning journey at school

September summons our youngsters back to school, college and university. Increased screen time, pressure to succeed and the inability to switch off can tip the nervous system into permanent “sympathetic nervous system” mode. This is the “fight or flight” mode the body originally evolved as a mechanism to protect us from imminent danger. The anxiety response in the brain causes a cascade of hormones with wide-ranging effects such as shortness of breath, a racing heart, paling or flushing of the face, sweaty hands… The list goes on and, if left unchecked, may lead to more regular and extreme symptoms.

Youngsters who suffer from anxiety may feel abnormal and isolated. Depression is deeply personal and masks itself in varied symptoms. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that perhaps the most effective treatment is personal empowerment of the sufferer’s own treatment. This means that they can learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, assisted by their parents.

Finding the tools that work for the individual is key to success. A regular exercise routine is both physically and mentally beneficial for health, especially within a group or team which will help reduce isolation. Regular sleep and a bedtime routine is very important, so turn off all blue light-emitting devices, avoid late food or drink (give at least two hours to digest) and avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 1pm. Encourage children to express themselves by drawing or writing; it’s such a beautiful tool as an outlet to release thoughts.

Correct breathing is also vital. The hormonal cascade during an anxiety response causes us to shallow breathe and suck in more air than we breathe out, making panic worse.

Tony Ulatowski has used “The Big Breath” with more than 400 students in London, from pre-schoolers to secondary students, for the last year and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents, teachers and pupils. He says: “One of the teachers told of a four-year-old girl with anger issues who’s learnt to take herself away, regulate her emotions and just two or three of the big breaths help her feel better.”

A healthy diet including “live” foods, vegetables and fruits is hugely helpful; 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. A study from New Zealand in 2017 found depressed patients significantly improved on a modified Mediterranean diet. There are also some natural supplements which are safe, effective, non-addictive and adaptogenic that provide an evidence-based approach for mood imbalance and anxiety in children and teenagers. One of the most widely tested is the ancient spice saffron. Saffron targets the gut as well as the brain.

Dr Paul Clayton, Fellow at The Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour, believes saffron should be considered in place of current therapies. He says: “By targeting core aspects of mood and anxiety, saffron works far more rapidly than the pharmaceuticals, which shoot at the wrong target. Saffron restores normal nerve function; if you have chronic inflammation, the “brakes” are put on a few key processes. Moreover, it acts very fast (hours, not weeks or months), has no withdrawal symptoms, no side effects, and is safe to use with children.”

Visit www.thenakedpharmacy.com or email [email protected] or call 01483 685630.

Did you know?

1 In the UK 16 million people experience mental illness.
2 Three out of four mental illnesses start before the age of 18.
3 10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness.
4 Three out of four young people with mental illness are not receiving treatment.
5 The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years.
6 Suicide is still the biggest killer of young people in the UK.
7 People with severe mental illness die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.

Acting up

The Boost! School of Acting team believe taking part in drama-based group activities can help develop social skills and reduce anxiety. They offer Saturday morning lessons in Oxfordshire for 4-6-year-olds and 7-10-year olds in Clifton Hampden and Monday morning sessions for pre-schoolers in Didcot. They also want to start a new group for teenagers – parents and teens themselves who might be interested, please get in touch! Visit www.boost-drama.co.uk