Category Archives: formembers

Chairman’s letter to the Friends February 2016

Dear Members,

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.
As your Chairman, I would like to emphasize my immense gratitude to each of the new officers, and to John Grainger in Peter Must’s Working Party, for their admirable efforts to achieve such a positive outlook for the Friends. The same goes for Dennis Wood’s tireless work in preparing the Heritage event to mark our 90th Anniversary in 2017.

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)

stained glass


CLOSING DATE FOR 2018 is 17 April
Click to download a grant application form (MS Word)
If you have trouble accessing the form or need further information, please email

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@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.

Grants awarded

Analysis of grants by decade to 2015



Some Past Events