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)
OPENING DATE FOR 2019 will be shown here early in 2019
CLOSING DATE FOR 2019 will be shown here early in 2019
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Normally, the closing date for applications is early in the Summer Term. The exact date will be advertised in the preceding February. Decisions are confirmed by The Friends normally by mid-June.
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, 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.
- Human rights, global wrongs: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70 Professor Rosa Freedman. Please book to attend at: https://www.reading.ac.uk/publiclectures/
- 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 archive.
- 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, be entertained by the student band and dancers or help out at our stall. All welcome and an excellent family day out.
- The Annual General Meeting takes place in June/July and includes a visit to a University department. Further details will be available in the New Year and circulated to members.
- 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.
- 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
- The Friends Visit Tour of Naval and Royal Greenwich (a steadily paced walking tour, including rest stops). BOOKING ESSENTIAL.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.