Disability day

Karen Neville

Wokingham & Winnersh

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

Wokingham & Winnersh

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

Reading Fringe

Karen Neville

Wokingham & Winnersh

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 into gear

Karen Neville

Wokingham & Winnersh

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

Castle to Coast

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

Take on a triathlon with a difference from Windsor to Brighton

Travel from Windsor Castle all the way to the coast at Brighton on a journey covering more than 81 miles –  but you’ll be completing it in a one-day triathlon. 

You’ll start with a 1.2 mile swim at Eton Dorney followed by a 67mile open road cycle through the Surrey Hills before finishing off with a 13.2 mile run up Ditchling Beacon and over the South Downs. 

There’s no competitive side to it and no timings instead it’s just about enjoying the adventure of the swim, cycle and run on Saturday, 10th August. 

Lee Brown, director and founder of Fullsteam, the endurance events company, says: “In 2019 we wantedtocreate something new in the world of triathlon.Castleto Coast’s sportive format will appealtothose lookingtostep uptoa middle-distance triathlon without the pressures of racing and beating the clock.” 

Swimmers will start the event in the water, in waves, and take on the continuous lap before taking to the saddle and embarking on the cycle ride which is fully supported with a feed station, toilet facilities, mechanical assistance and marshals at key locations as riders make their way along the route and 3,400ft of climbs. 

Then you’ll hand over your bike over to the transport team who will either take it on to Brighton for you or back to Windsor. All equipment for the run and changing facilities will be available in a sports centre. 

A finish line party will greet you on the seafront in Brighton where you’ll collect your medal. If you’re then heading back to Windsor, support staff from Fullsteam will take you back on the organised transport. 

Entry, which is limited to 500, costs from £160 before 1st August. 

  For more information about the event and full entry information, including costs, visit www.fullste.am 

Whiteknights Studio Trail

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

Join the studio trail around Whiteknights and uncover some treasures

Thirty-eight artists, designers and makers in the Whiteknights area of Reading will once again open their doors for the Whiteknights Studio Trail.

Artists will invite people to come, view and buy their work, enjoy a pleasant stroll around the area and have cake and tea at various venues.

The trail which takes in 21 venues on Saturday, 15th and Sunday, 16th June, will also showcase Reading’s creative community by including events, activities and demonstrations. Visitors can see and buy artworks ranging from fine art paintings, ceramics and printmaking to jewellery, furniture and photography.

Join the walk around the area and wander into artists’ homes and studios. Discover the wealth of creativity in the area, such as the piece pictured from Carole Stephens, as well as buy artwork at affordable prices. You can browse and chat with the artist about their work while stopping for lunch and refreshments on the way.

This year the Whiteknights Studio Trail is trialling a new enterprise, Whiteknights Studio Trail Introduces encouraging young artists between the ages of 16 and 21 to develop their creativity – three have been chosen including Bulmershe School student Charlie who uses ink and acrylic for her self portraits.

Among other artists exhibiting their work are those working in mixed media, ceramics, photography, quilting, sculpture, glass and jewellery workers. Twelve of the venues will also feature demonstrations of tools and techniques used by the artists to make their work.

The studio trail is about more than just art with open houses and open gardens to be enjoyed too.

 For more details about the artists and their work and to see the map of venues involved, visit Studio Trail

Sit and sip

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

Former Wokingham schoolboy James Mattingley has brewed up something special for the town with the opening of Sit & Sip Tasting Room in the town’s highly anticipated Peach Place development.

Sit & Sip serves up delicious craft beers from local brewers, as well as artisan spirits created by small family businesses, which can all be enjoyed with Tasting Boards featuring meats, cheeses and accompaniments, many of which have been sourced locally by Berkshire producers.

This is the second branch of Sit & Sip Tasting Room, which is owned by James, 38, and his dad Brian Mattingley. The first Tasting Room launched in Chichester last year and has been a huge success in the town.

The Sit & Sip concept is now closer to home, with the second Tasting Room opening within Peach Place’s courtyard area, which has been transformed from an old car park off Rose Street to a pedestrianised shopping and dining destination as part of the town’s regeneration.

I wanted to bring in produce that tastes great and is non-mainstream, drinks that you won’t get anywhere else.

Sit & Sip serves up delicious craft beers from local brewers, as well as artisan spirits created by small family businesses, which can all be enjoyed with Tasting Boards featuring meats, cheeses and accompaniments, many of which have been sourced locally by Berkshire producers.

This is the second branch of Sit & Sip Tasting Room, which is owned by James, 38, and his dad Brian Mattingley. The first Tasting Room launched in Chichester last year and has been a huge success in the town.

The Sit & Sip concept is now closer to home, with the second Tasting Room opening within Peach Place’s courtyard area, which has been transformed from an old car park off Rose Street to a pedestrianised shopping and dining destination as part of the town’s regeneration.

James, who lived in Earley for 10 years and attended Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning, is excited to have brought his Sit & Sip business to the town, as he says he always hoped to open a branch in Wokingham.

The business was founded after James quit his job in the corporate world working for a large health and fitness brand so he could focus on Sit & Sip.
The inspiration came from family holidays in the South of France and South Africa, where he discovered the concept of tasting experiences.

James said: “I’m a beer drinker, I love a traditional beer. But my wife isn’t the biggest fan of pubs and unfortunately I don’t particularly like cocktail bars, so we struggled to find somewhere we both liked to visit and enjoy a drink together.

“I started to wonder is there a gap in the UK market for somewhere that has a cool, funky, and relaxing environment that’s attractive to both men and women, where I could develop this tasting concept I had seen elsewhere.

“I wanted to bring in produce that tastes great and is non-mainstream, drinks that you won’t get anywhere else.

“I took the leap and quit my corporate job. We didn’t know if this would actually work. It’s been really successful in Chichester and really well received. Now we’re bringing it to Wokingham and I really hope people will enjoy it. It’s something new for the town.

“We’ve worked with some fantastic producers, and for me that’s been the real appealing side of the story behind all of this.

“One of the gins we serve in Chichester is made by a husband and wife team in their garage. Sit & Sip is such a marriage between these cottage industry suppliers trying to get their brands out there and us wanting to bring something a bit different to our customers.”

Visitors to Sit & Sip can choose from a revolving selection of drinks, with several choices from local breweries and small producers on offer at all times. At Sit & Sip you can pick a pint, or glass, of your choice or go for a flight of a paddle in order to taste the different range of what the tasting room has to offer.

The Tasting Room also offers a takeaway option allowing you to take your favourite brews home with you.

Local suppliers will include Siren Craft Brew, based in Finchampstead, and West Berkshire Brewery, based in Yattendon.

Sit & Sip hopes to hold two monthly themed tasting events where visitors can find out more about the creation process behind their favourite drinks, and sample some special guest products.

There will be regular events such as Tap Takeovers from companies such as West Berkshire Brewery and spirits tastings and masterclasses with Gorilla Spirits.

James adds: “We want to create an experience for the customer that is a little different and takes them out of their comfort zone by offering a quality range of different craft and artisan products that you can’t get elsewhere.

“At Sit & Sip our Tasting Rooms are all about the cool environment, quality products, great people and good times!

“But we will also serve the familiar to people who just want to come in and have a drink, rather than go for something quirky. If you want to come and try something a bit different you can, but there’s still drinks people will be familiar with.”

People in Wokingham wanting to get all of the latest information about Sit & Sip and future tasting events, can sign up to The Tasting Club and receive updates by visiting www.sitandsip.co.uk

Community shop

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

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

Helen & Douglas House Bubble Rush

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

Burst though bubbles and help raise funds for Helen & Douglas House

Frothy, foamy, fabulous fun is on offer all in aid of a good cause next month where you can join hundreds of others fit to burst and fundraising.

Run, jump and dive through thousands of coloured bubbles at the Helen & Douglas House Bubble Rush on Sunday, 2nd June at Cutteslowe Park, Oxford and in Prospect Park, Reading on Sunday, 9th June, in a 5k challenge with a difference.

Anyone of any age is welcome to join in the fun and running isn’t compulsory, you can walk or even toddle your way through the family-friendly fun.

Burst through four colour stations with cannon pumping bubbles up to four feet high and get engulfed in light, foamy fun while wearing a Bubble T-shirt which you’ll get on the day. Once you’ve completed the run, special Bubble Rush medals will be handed out.

The route is 2.5k which you can choose to tackle once or twice but remember if you choose to do two loops it’s double the fun – you’ll get covered in colour eight times!

Funds raised at Helen & Douglas House Bubble Rush will help towards the £3million it costs annually to run the hospice and make a real difference to local terminally ill children and their families.

Helen & Douglas House helps families to cope with the challenges of looking after a baby or child who will die prematurely and allows them to spend time together creating memories.

Places for the Bubble Rush are limited so book as soon as you can, entry is available at various prices for families, individual adults and children and the run takes place in two waves at 10am and 11am.

To register to take part visit eventbrite and visit Helen & Douglas House for more information about and how you can help through their other fundraising events.

Photo credit: Helen Stuwart

Henley Arts Trail

Round & About

Wokingham & Winnersh

How many of the 300 exhibitors will you see and enjoy around Henley?

This year’s Henley Arts Trail is the biggest to date with almost 300 artists and makers at 33 venues covering an area of 50 square miles of countryside.

Taking place over the May bank holiday weekend, 4th to 6th, the trail showcases the vibrant visual arts and crafts scene around Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

The trail attracts around 10,000 visitors across the region taking in Bix, Twyford, Shiplake, Sonning, Hurst and Waltham St Lawrence with work displayed in studios, garden sheds, garages and village halls.

Such is the variety of work in the trail that life-size sculptures sit alongside delicate jewellery and abstract paintings nestle next to detailed nature art.

Many of the venues are dotted in villages along the Thames, offering a great opportunity to enjoy some splendid countryside at the same time. However many venues you are visiting it couldn’t be easier with the help of a map you can download from the website or pick up a leaflet from libraries or in village newsletters.

Organiser, Jo Keiller, says: “The standard of work on show is exceptional. Where else can you see the work of an artist who exhibits internationally, alongside emerging talent taking part in their first show? Talent is often hidden in spare rooms and garages, so the trail gives artists the chance to connect with the public and the public to discover new and exciting makers.”

Many venues offer refreshments and some boast demonstrations or workshops for visitors to get fully immersed in the art trail experience.

Find out more and see the map on the Henley Arts Trail site