Get ready for Readipop

Karen Neville


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


ARCh: Help a child learn to

Round & About


Imagine not being able to read properly? There are many primary school children all over the county who struggle to do just this but with your help they could develop a love of what you’re doing now.

Imagine not being able to read properly? There are many primary school children all over the county who struggle to do just this but with your help they could develop a love of what you’re doing now.

ARCh (Assisted Reading for Children) is an award-winning local charity which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work one-to-one with pupils, inspiring them to develop a love of reading.

Having grown rapidly since its launch in 2008, ARCh has helped around 6,000 Oxfordshire children to love reading, enhancing their lives at school and beyond.

At present there are around 250 ARCh volunteers working in 100 primary schools throughout Oxfordshire but more are needed and the charity hopes to place new volunteers on the next two-day training course at the start of next term.

After successful application, checking and training process, each volunteer is assigned three primary school children to work one-to-one with, for 30 minutes at a time, twice a week, during the school day. Volunteers are asked to commit to work with these children for the entire year, to build a nurturing, mentoring relationship.

The charity provides books and games, personalised to suit each child.
Sessions involve a mixture of chat, sharing books and playing games. They are fun and encouraging and so build up the children’s confidence and self esteem.

ARCh development manager Jane Rendle said: “There are lots of children in primary schools throughout the county who would benefit from ARCh support.  No formal qualifications are required to volunteer, just enthusiasm for reading, enjoyment of children’s company and good communication skills.

“Our volunteers gain a lot from their experience. Many say the time they spend with their ARCh children is the highlight of their week; they come away from school with a big smile on their face!”

The charity won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service on 2016 and is the current OCVA Charity of the Year.

Anyone interested should visit the ARCh website to download an application form or call their office on 01869 320380 for an informal chat. 

Reading beer & cider festival

Round & About


We’re here for the beer and much, much more at Reading Beer & Cider Festival

It’s summer – well the sun’s out at least or trying its best – and one of the best ways to celebrate is at the ever-popular Reading Beer & Cider Festival.

Located in Christchurch Meadows, its fully accessible and home to one of the largest beer festivals in the country from 2nd to 5th May.

Visitors can enjoy more than 450 real ales as well as a large range of ciders, perries, foreign beers, UK wines and mead, many from local breweries – a full list can be found online and during the festival a live beer list will offer an up-to-the-minute update on what’s available.

In addition to the great range of drinks there are a variety of food vendors – some newcomers and some returning favourites with everything from Cornish pasties, curry and kebabs and a hog roast to German bratwurst and olives and chocolates and truffles for the sweeter toothed.

It’s not all about the beer though – ok, it is mainly all about the beer – but starting on Thursday and throughout the festival there’ll be a range of traditional pub games to enjoy. Long alley skittles, shuttleboard, table skittles and toad in the hole are on offer for £1 a go or enjoy six for £5.

The outdoor games area will be back with great prizes to be won and if you’re feeling lucky have a go at the tombola for the chance to win beer and pub-oriented prizes.

Ticket prices vary depending on day and session required. Sunday is the family day and you can buy a season ticket for access to all festival sessions over the four days.

Posted by Reading Beer and Cider Festival on Saturday, 12 January 2019

For more details, the list of beers and to buy tickets visit the Reading Beer Festival website

The search for King Henry I

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Reading Borough Council needs volunteers to take on role of costumed historical characters 

Do you have what it takes to be Henry I or Jane Austen?

Reading Museum is once again on the search for outgoing volunteers interested in taking on the role of costumed historical characters in the Abbey Quarter over the summer. 

The museum is keen to recruit male volunteers to take on the role of medieval monks as well as looking for Tudor women, a Georgian school pupil and someone to take on the leading roles of Jane Austen and King Henry I. 

They are also trying to find people to play supporting roles and get involved behind the scenes as wardrobe assistants to the historical characters. 

The volunteer recruitment drive follows on from the successful debut of the historical characters last year, where King Henry I, Empress Matilda, Queen Elizabeth and a medieval laundress, among others, helped bring the history of the Abbey Quarter to life at its reopening in June. 

Reading Museum Costumed Interpreters 

The role of ‘costumed interpreter’ involves interacting with visitors to the Abbey Quarter, to help bring the rich history of the area alive. 

By role playing the characters, volunteers will help people understand and empathise with the lives of the people who lived, visited or worked in the Abbey Quarter. 

Volunteers will be given replica period costumes to wear, as well advice on how to carry out research into their character and learn fact-based historical information to share with the public. 

No experience of drama is necessary, although the role is suited to enthusiastic, outgoing and friendly people, who like working as a team, are happy to wear a costume, stay in character and interact positively with members of the public. 

The role would involve a flexible commitment over some Saturdays and on the occasional weekday. 

Jen Woodhams, who volunteer interprets as Empress Matilda, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary. I like the fact you can do as much or as little as you can to fit it in around your everyday life. I find the research side fascinating as you get to understand so much about the period your character comes from. I also love the way the museum encourages you to develop the role independently as it gives you a great deal of creative scope. The best part is engaging people and bringing Reading’s history to life for them and of course, it is immense fun dressing up in such a lovely costume!” 

View an interview with Jen below

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, said: “Our historical characters were extremely well received by visitors to the Abbey Quarter last year, and we are keen to expand on this success again. 

“This is a great opportunity for people to get involved in the Abbey Quarter and really help us bring history to life. If you think you could share your love of history with our visitors, this volunteer opportunity has the potential to offer loads of fun and a great experience.” 

  To find out more about the volunteer roles on offer visit