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University Hits The Streets To Help Students Meet Their Neighbours

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Student tenants in Reading are being encouraged to get to know their neighbours, with the University offering them a free lunch if they take the trouble to introduce themselves to people on their street.

Students Meet Their Neighbours

Around 200 residents and students living in private accommodation were visited by students and community figures on Wednesday 6 October as part of a University of Reading initiative to create a greater sense of community in the town.

Students Meet Their Neighbours in Reading

The walkabout event was part of the University’s Community Action Partnership initiative, which supports proactive efforts to strengthen the University’s contribution to the local area, including working with local partners to promote positive relations between students and residents.

Student tenants spoken to during the event were offered the chance to win vouchers for a free bagel on campus if they introduced themselves to their neighbours. Information packs were also handed out, detailing the range of agencies on hand across Reading to support all residents.

University Of Reading

Sheldon Allen, a Student Community Champion at the University of Reading and co-ordinator of the walkabout event, said: “It is important that we as students, and as a University, listen to our neighbours to create strong and positive relationships.

“As well as offering support and guidance to students, this event was a chance for us to get out into the wider community and meet Reading residents face to face, giving them an opportunity to raise concerns as well as hear first-hand the positive contributions students bring to the town. We look forward to continuing this work in future.”

Sarah Gardner, Community Relations Manager at the University of Reading said: “This initiative was just one of many that the University runs to start conversations with the Reading community in order to strengthen our relationship.

“We are extremely pleased to work hand in hand with local partners to offer the best support we can for residents, and students who may be renting private housing for the first time in their lives. A key part of this event was to foster positive relationships between students and their neighbours and to encourage mutual respect and consideration.

“We recognise that the University has a large presence in Reading, and it’s important that we work with partners to have a positive local impact.”

The Walkabout

The walkabout event was attended by representatives from the University, Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), Reading Borough Council and Thames Valley Police, all of whom work closely together to engage and support the local community.

Those attending included Reading councillors for housing and waste and recycling, and representatives from Trading Standards. They were joined by students focusing on community engagement and student success, as well as the RUSU President and officers, and advice teams.

Student tenants were also offered support with issues relating to poor quality accommodation, with some property visits taking place as a result of the conversations.

The University runs regular campaigns to encourage good relations between students and residents living in the town. The walkabout event built on the Hello Neighbour campaign, which provides information to students on being considerate about noise and advice on waste and recycling collections and parking. A Street Wardens scheme also provides advice to students socialising late at night on being responsible, respectful and safe when travelling through residential areas.

The Community Action Partnership is being developed jointly by the University of Reading and RUSU, and brings together staff and students who are passionate about community action. It is supported by a Student Community Champion team, a diverse team of students who have spent the last year meeting with local community groups and setting up local community partnerships.