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John Sykes Foundation & Reading University Join Up To Help People In Reading

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Reading town and its residents are set to benefit from £50,000 of new community projects as part of a new University of Reading local initiative.

The John Sykes Foundation

The Community Fund has been set up by the University, in partnership with the John Sykes Foundation. It will offer financial support to projects that benefit the people and community of Reading.

How Much

Up to £50,000 is available for use in the coming academic year (2021/22) and forms part of the University’s commitment to being a university for Reading, engaged with the town and its people.

University staff members will be able to apply for funding to support projects they are involved with either as part of their job, or in a voluntary capacity. The project must involve working with and for the benefit of a local Reading community group or individual(s) and should be located within a five-mile radius of Reading town centre. Proposed activities must also further at least one of the University’s charitable objectives of advancing education, learning or research.

Dr Sally Lloyd Evans, Public Engagement with Community Research Fellow, said: “Many of our colleagues, students and organisations have inspirational ideas for building important grassroots projects with local communities, but they lack the resources to get initiatives started. This new Community Fund is core to the University’s commitment to working together with our local communities for the mutual benefit of everyone in Reading. I’m excited to be part of this programme and I can’t wait to see how it develops.”

The Fund will provide one-off, smaller awards (in the region of £1,000 per year) as well as larger awards (up to a maximum of £10,000 per year) on a one-off or multi-year basis. 

Funding Application Deadline

The deadline for funding applications is 30 June 2021. Details on how staff members can apply can be found on the Staff Portal. Successful applicants will be notified in September, following a review of all the projects by a selection panel, which includes Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University, and John Sykes, Chair of Trustees of the John Sykes Foundation.

Professor Van de Noort said: “Many of my colleagues are actively involved in building positive relationships with the local community either through their day jobs or in a voluntary capacity. The new Community Fund will enable us as a University to do more, at a time when many need it most. I look forward to hearing about the projects that we can support through this Fund and would like to thank the John Sykes Foundation for its financial support for this new initiative.”

Annabelle Sykes, foundation trustee, said: “The John Sykes Foundation is excited to partner with the University of Reading, engaging with our community to help build brighter futures for charities, groups, and individuals within the Reading area. My family and I have an unwavering love of, and are immensely proud of, Reading, where our heritage is so deeply rooted. We place the local community at the heart of what we do. This partnership, strengthened by our shared values and positive ethos, presents us with great opportunities, and it is so wonderful our University is not only of Reading, but also the University for Reading.”

The new Community Fund builds on the University Endowment Fund schemes run over the past five years and, if successful over a two-year pilot, will become an on-going fund, dedicated to supporting research work and other projects in the local community.