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Membership

Besides helping the University, through the grants financed from subscriptions,  members enjoy a full programme of events. Twice-yearly talks from eminent members of the University are acompanied by tea at which members have time to meet old friends and make new acquaintances. At our Yearly Meeting in June members are invited to visit areas in the University not usually accessible to the general public.

In addition we arrange trips to external venues with University of Reading connections.

The Friends’ biennial, themed Heritage Trails are also open to the public. The event in 2012 focused on the London Road campus and attracted over 260 members and visitors. In 2014 the theme was ‘Reading and The Great War’, held on the London Road campus.

Members receive: Connected magazine for alumni and Friends, mailed annually and supplemented by Connected online, a quarterly email newsletter; and all the generous benefits available to alumni such as discounts on hotels, car rental and University Library and Sports Centre membership.

Membership, open to anyone, is by subscription of £20 p.a. for individuals, £30 for couples living at the same address, although we welcome larger subscriptions from those who feel able to contribute. New members are always welcome. please contact Mrs Brenda Morris, Membership Secretary, The Friends of The University, c/o ASEO, Blandford Lodge 1st Floor, PO Box 201, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AH, tel 0740128717, e-mail thefriends@reading.ac.uk

Grants

THE OPENING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IN THE CURRENT ROUND IS 15 MARCH 2019

THE CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 30 APRIL 2019

Click to download a grant application form (MS Word)

If you have trouble accessing the form or need further information, please email thefriends@reading.ac.uk

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.

Grants awarded

Analysis of grants by decade to 2015

Grant giving policy

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

  • Visit to The Cole Museum, Animal and Microbial Sciences Building at 2.15 pm and tour at 2.30 pm followed by a talk at 3.15pm in the AMS Lecture Theatre and then tea in the Meadow Suite.
  • 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 thefriends@reading.ac.uk if you would like to attend. You are welcome to bring guests ...

About

The Friends of the University of Reading was formed as a charitable association in 1927. In 2017 it was registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales as an Association Charitable Incorporated Organisation (number 1173347). In July 2017 The Friends was inducted into the University’s College of Benefactors in recognition of 90 years continuous support of the University.

Membership of The Friends is open to anyone with an interest in supporting the University.

The Association thrives with a membership of over 400 drawn from the neighbourhood and the wider community as well as from former and present members of the University. In this way we provide a companionable means of cultivating contacts between the University and those interested in its educational goals, history, current activities and future development. Membership of The Friends gives access to an array of social and cultural events. The subscription income that we generate is applied to grants, financing various amenities and activities throughout the University.