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)
THE OPENING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IN THE CURRENT ROUND IS 15 MARCH 2019
THE CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 30 APRIL 2019
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Normally, the closing date for applications is early in the Summer Term. The exact date will be advertised towards the end of the Spring Term. Decisions are confirmed by The Friends normally by mid-June.
Each year we give out around half a dozen grants normally ranging from a few hundred to a (very!) 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, enhance the University’s landscape and support its outreach into the community.
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 at Reading are other examples.
The Friends are particularly interested in projects which support the University’s outreach into the wider community. Past examples of such grants include a 3D model of a DNA molecule which can be used both for University teaching and in schools, support of community events such as the Big Band Picnic and completion of an African Drum circle to enable workshops to be held outside the normal curriculum, with local schools and at community events.
- watch the afternoon Head of the River Races on Saturday 9 March from the Canoe Club, The Warren, Caversham, Reading RG4 7TF, and to take tea there afterwards (parking along The Warren). Could those wishing to come please let Brenda Morris know by Friday 1 March (Brenda@morrisandfamily.co.uk)? Members are asked to arrive at the Club about 2 pm with the first race starting at 2.30 pm.
- Dr Jaqui Turner of the History Department, who recently advised the Suffrage exhibition in Parliament, will speak on early female MPs alongside a recreation of her Nancy Astor exhibit informed by the University’s extensive Astor archive. Venue Palmer Building. Please book for the accompanying tea which starts at 3pm.
- This trail will cover the gate lodges before moving on to describe the background to the Temporary Office Buildings, the Citadel and more recent development of the Earley Gate by the University (Agriculture, Psychology etc), and ending at the site of the Victorian house, Erlegh Park, and the nearby ice house. (Photo from University Special Collections) Please return to this page in nearer the time for more details and booking information.
- Members of The Friends have once again contributed generously to this popular event. Bring a picnic to the lovely London Rd campus anytime 12noon-4pm, be entertained by the student band and dancers or help out at our stall. All welcome and an excellent family day out.
- Once again we will have a stall at this popular local event on Palmer Park. Members who would like to volunteer to help out would be most welcome.
- The Annual General Meeting will start with a talk by Professor Shirley Reynolds and Dr Faith Orchard of the Charlie Waller Institute about the Institute and its work relating to mental health in young people. It will be held in Room G09, Allen Building, at 2.30 pm, with tea in the Meadow Suite from 4.00 pm followed by the Annual General Meeting at 5.00 pm. Full details and a booking form will be sent round nearer the time.
- We will be continuing our series of Heritage Days with our trail around the historic London Road campus. Members who would like to volunteer as helpers would be most welcome.
- Our coach trips are extremely popular and a new venue will be chosen for 2019. Members will be sent details nearer the time. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Some Past Events
- 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 ...
- 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.
- The Friends will be represented at this event showing a collection of historic University photos. The Shepherds Hut which The Friends helped fund is being unveiled decorated by the Mewes Knitters alongside many other community activities. Everyone is invited to bring along a picnic, and any family teasures you would like evaluated. See Community Treasures This is an excellent opportunity to get up to date with the changes the Friends are helping make in the Museum garden.
- The Friends was honoured to be inducted into the University’s College of Benefactors at the degree ceremony in the Great Hall on 6 July 2017. Dr Chris Gayford received the honour from the Chancellor followed by a presentation from the Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell in the Acacias.
- Our Yearly Meeting will be held at London Road, with a visit to the Museum of English Rural Life followed by tea and our Meeting in Room L022 G03/4. Full details and booking form will be sent round nearer the time.
- Come and see us or volunteer to help man our stall at the East Reading Festival. We will be continuing our partnership with local charity RG Spaces to show our heritage information about the University’s campuses, alongside activities relating to the University’s museums.
- The University Events Team would like to welcome members to the third annual Big Band Big Lunch on the historic London Road campus. They write: “Join the fun as we invite the local community to join members of the University over lunch, to listen to music from the University Big Band and take part in a range of family-friendly activities based around this year’s theme of Community and Creativity. This event will have something for everyone, with food and drink available to purchase, or feel free to bring along a picnic and enjoy the festivities!”
- To celebrate the 90th anniversary of our foundation in 1927 there will be a Heritage Day event at Whiteknights on Sunday 7 May. Guided tours, displays and children’s activities. Children free £5 adults (to include tea and cake) . Everyone is welcome. Please see here for further information and booking details from the beginning of April.
- This talk will be given at Whiteknights by Professor Paul Hadley and Dr Matt Ordidge and will explain the work of the National Fruit Collection, one of the largest such collections in the world, which is based at Brogdale Farm in Kent and is co-curated by the University of Reading.
- Members are invited by RUBC to watch the racing from the Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Caversham. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org