Over the past few months we have been in discussion with the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office (CSEO) to agree on the way ahead for us at a time when the University is reshaping its management structures so as to make best use of its resources.
As a result, we as an Association have largely taken over our own administration, while still making use of the University as our base and as provider of practical assistance in matters of managing our finances and of printing and circulation of papers.
We now manage our own membership database, which we think will actually make communication easier in the future. We have also re-designed our website and hope that this will assist us in making it more timely and informative.
Importantly, members of your Executive Committee have stepped forward to take over those functions needed to run the Association, the new officers being:
- Peter Must: Hon. Secretary, looking after the Executive Committee and the Yearly Meeting;
- Brenda Morris: Membership Secretary, dealing with subscriptions and arrangements for events;
- Annette Haworth: Grants Officer, inviting applications for grants and presenting them to the Executive Committee to select cases for recommendation to the Yearly Meeting. She is also our IT mastermind.
This is still a learning curve for all of us and I know you will bear with us if further challenges arise. Indeed, the new arrangements envisage others joining in to help: we will be most grateful for any further assistance offered. Meanwhile, I trust you will accept that our measures have been necessary to keep the Friends’ Association alive and well, with a solid platform for future growth and activity. As evidence of this I have pleasure in enclosing our programme for 2016. We hope to see as many of you as possible at these events, starting with the visit to Classics on 20 April, and including some really special treats – notably the Vice-Chancellor’s invitation for 29 June.
Andrew Palmer (Chairman)
CLOSING DATE FOR 2017 IS MONDAY 24 APRIL
Click to download a grant application form (MS Word)
Grants A4 poster
Closing date for applications is around the third week of April. The exact date will be advertised in February.
Decisions are confirmed by The Friends members at their Yearly Meeting towards the end of June.
If you have trouble accessing the form or need further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year we give out around half a dozen grants ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds, responding to applications for projects which would not normally be funded from University academic resources. In this way we enrich students’ experiences, provide additional social and cultural amenities, and enhance the University’s landscape.
Students across University life benefit from contributions. Examples include musical instruments, covers and a synthetic cricket wicket and boats and sets of oars for the University Boat Club.
Donations to Departments and Schools include the purchase of paintings and other works of art, storage facilities, display cabinets, garden seats and trees. The ceremonial furniture seen in the Great Hall at London Road at Graduation ceremonies was among our earliest grants; we have since since contributed to the refurbishment of its organ.
Our funding has enhanced University landmarks enjoyed by the general public, including The Friends’ Bridge over Whiteknights Lake, plantings around the lake, and the cloisters that characterise London Road campus. The fine stained-glass window at the Museum of English Rural Life and music stands for concerts by music@reading are other examples. Elsewhere, we have funded display cases in the Ure and Cole Museums and, in contrast, a contribution to the purchase of a mower for the University Bowls Club.
- Professor Mike Fulford has invited us to the site of the new temple dig at Silchester. Further details will be available at the beginning of August.
- Inspired by Reading’s Victorian Turbine, All of a Twist is an exhibition of the science and technology of twisty-turny stuff under, on, above and beside Reading’s rivers. Thermals, tornados, whirlpools, watermills, willow, spirogyra, towrope, wool, DNA and turbines have all affected Reading, its river dwellers, monks, red kites and now us one way or another. Advised by Reading-based scientists, most from the University, local charity RG Spaces is mounting this exhibition at the Turbine House on the River Kennet courtesy Reading Museum. A special viewing for members of Friends of the University & their guests will be held on 6 Sept. Please arrive ...
- A guided tour of the area. Further details available in August.
- Professor Farrelly Head of the University’s new School of Architecture has invited us to visit. Further details will be available in August.
Some Past Events
- Longstanding member of the Friends, Jenny Halstead, is curating an exhibition from local artists. Private view with wine, books, museum and optional lunch.
- This year our annual general meeting and reception will be at Aberleigh courtesy of Sir David and Lady Bell. This is a good occasion to catch up with what’s going on both within The Friends’ Association and more broadly to hear from the Vice-Chancellor about developments within the University, have your say on what the Friends are doing and consider the applications made to our annual grants round. Oh, and there’s also a delicious tea. Details will be updated here and sent to all members three weeks before the meeting.
- The University received its charter 90 years ago. Members of the Friends were invited to join alumni at the University Homecoming event. We manned a stand at this special event – showing the wide variety of grants we have made over nine decades and our Heritage Trails.
- Lord Carrington, our President emeritus, has kindly invited us again to visit his magnificent gardens at the Manor House, Bledlow. Davina Palmer will provide tea for the party at 4.15 pm. Booking is essential.
- East Reading Festival 19 June 2016
- Everyone welcome at this University event on the London Rd campus 12 noon Sunday 5 June 2016. Bring your own picnic or enjoy a tasty treat from the BBQ grill, and try some of the beers and ciders in the Real Ale Festival at Eat at London Road. If you fancy something a bit different, the University will be showcasing some of its food science research, with a special ‘Ready, Steady, Nutritional Cook’ demonstration.
- The Friends has supported the Ure Museum with several grants over the years. This visit is by kind invitation of Amy Smith, Professor of Classics and Curator of the Museum. The visit starts at 2.30pm in the Ure Museum, Classics Department, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, Whiteknights campus, Building 1 on the Campus Map. It will be followed by tea at 4.15pm in the Meadow Suite (behind Park House). Please click the photo of Professor Smith for more information, parking permit and campus map. Please email email@example.com if you would like to attend. You are welcome to bring guests ...
- Edith Morley is believed to have been the first woman professor in this country. In our 2015 grants round, the Friends supported the publication of her memoirs. This will be launched in the Great Hall at this special event: In Conversation with Karen Blackett, OBE Chairwoman of MediaCom UK. Please click Edith’s photo – taken in Reading at the turn of the last century – for further details.
- Come and see us or volunteer to help man our stall at East Reading Festival. In 2015 we partnered with local charity RG Spaces to show our heritage info about the London Rd campus, alongside activities relating to the University’s Ure Museum, Ladybird book archive and Harris Garden.