First, at the end of a busy year, we would like to thank all our
members for continued interest and feedback and wish them a joyful Christmas
season and good wishes for 2008. For anyone anxious to fill in next year's
diary, the AGM is pencilled in for 29th April. We are very lucky to have
Tina Heaford, Youth Worker as our guest speaker. Subscriptions for 2008
are now being collected, but all members who are due will either get
an email or a letter 'with this delivery'.
Visit EGRA's website at www.map-reading.co.uk/egra.
The website is continuously being updated
with useful information. In the pipeline is the start of the build-up
to our 25th Anniversary
celebrations in 2009. The first item to go up will chart EGRA's history
and will hopefully be online soon. The site can be accessed at the
library or an Internet café.
Spend Spend Spend, continued…….
We continue to share some of EGRA's wealth with the community. A donation
of £250 will be made towards the extension of St Barnabas Church
buildings. Highdown School is to be the recipient of an annual book
prize of £50, awarded for services to the community. The prize
will be divided into two, guaranteed for five years, for differing
age groups of pupil. The Hill School's new library will receive £25
towards some books.
Seat and Tree Ceremony
Committee member Diana Hartrup saw her idea, to commemorate the Queen's
80th birthday, by planting a tree, come to fruition last month. Secretary
Kate Manton helped order the accompanying seat and arrange its installation.
The ceremony to celebrate the completion was held at the recreation
ground on Saturday October 6th. Mr David Miles, EGRA's inaugural Chairman
officiated and gave a short speech, in which he acknowledged those
responsible, read out a letter received from the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting
and dedicated the tree and seat to the community. Ben Cosh read a poem
called The Golden Rule, which was composed especially for the Queen's
80th Birthday by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. The ribbon was then cut.
The crowd of about thirty included committee members, local residents,
and Ward Councillors.
An extract from the letter from Balmoral:
"The Queen was pleased to see the photographs of the tree
and the nearby seat which you enclosed and hopes that the local community
this additional amenity for many years to come".
St Barnabas Garden Party
On Saturday 14 July the sun shone on stallholders and visitors alike,
at the annual St Barnabas Garden Party (in aid of the Daynes Education
Trust). The Association was represented by Tara Taylor, Kate Manton
and Ben Cosh, who gave out information about EGRA and raised a few
pounds for the trust with their 'Guess the Famous Person' game. It
takes a special talent to recognise Bob The Builder!
Emmer Green Post Office
appears to be picking up at the Post Office and we all hope with Christmas
approaching it will give them a big boost. The post
box itself has been moved to a location outside the new shop and
looks very happy there. With Post Offices all over the country closing,
we are indeed lucky to have this amenity.
After months of working with local schools and students from TVU, Jennifer
Leach a young professional artist with a sympathetic approach to
the environment launched her project at Clayfield Copse on 8th September.
With the help of a grant from the Arts Council, she composed a poem,
which was read on the day by actors Anne Latto and Jim McGuigan.
In the woods were figures relating to the readings. As the assembled
group moved through the woods, it was poetry in motion at its best.
Thanks to Jenny for providing the diversity we enjoy in the area.
I believe a related educational pack is on the cards for 2008.
Reading 50 Plus+ Older Person's Forum
EGRA is happy to support and promote this joint venture - Age Concern,
RBC, and the NHS. This year there have been three meetings held at
St Barnabas Hall. The police spoke at the meeting on 12th November,
as well as community nurse Kim Parsons on the sensitive subject of
falls. The Dee Park Active Retirement Group gave an enlightening performance
of Tai Chi. Everyone in the hall joined in the slapping finale. An
application has been submitted to Awards for All to try and procure
funding for a retirement club in Emmer Green/Caversham. If attendance
at these meetings is anything to go by it should do very well. The
next meeting is in 2008. Anyone wanting information can contact Marvetah
Hines at the Reading Age Concern office on 0118 9594242. And don't
forget their excellent free Home Handyman Scheme!
SCHOOL REPORTS AND YOUNG PEOPLE
EGRA continues to be represented on the committee of the North Reading
Youth Project, and Tina Heaford, the senior youth worker has agreed
to speak at our 2008 AGM.
Two EGRA committee members attended the official opening of the new
school hall on Thursday 15th November. After a short introduction
by head teacher Mr Tim Royle, the audience were entertained by pupils
of all ages who performed a diverse show 'Shaken and Stirred'. Music
and dance with James Bond theme! The new hall will be very well appreciated
in the future.
Help required - Highdown School is keen to integrate with the local
They are looking for volunteers who would be interested in giving up
a bit of time.
Two particular areas of interest are:
1. Reading - listening to pupils read on a one to one basis.
2. A new garden project on an allotment to help more challenging pupils.
would be appreciated.
Please contact Highdown School on 0118 9015800, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polly Skates is the gardening contact, and for anything else Maggie Barden.
North Reading Youth Project
Sarah the worker from Emmer
Green was absent from the September meeting but we look forward to
feedback from the following one on 28th November.
In general outside activities with the youngsters throughout the summer
had been very successful, in particular, fun days, the canoe week,
a visit to Thorpe Park and a half term trip to Osmington Bay. Pupils
from Highdown School were undertaking Duke of Edinburgh awards at Emmer
Green Community Centre. Concerns were expressed over the lack of provision
at the Milestone Centre. The youth workers were also out and about
on the streets engaging with the young people.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
EGRA's website has excellent guidance on local planning issues. For
anyone in need and unable to access this we may consider printing
In-fill building continues at several sites in the village, with developments
in Kidmore End Road (opposite the Golf Club entrance), Peppard Road
(near the Water Tower) and Buckingham Drive (near Marshland Square)
all nearing completion.
Building is now underway of nine dwellings at Cedarcot (at the end
of Lyefield Court), and 49 Grove Road has been demolished to make way
for another nine properties behind 41-49. The new petrol station and
Tesco Express store site has transformed and is due to re-open on 14th
There is still no news on the proposed extension to the betting shop,
or the adjacent premises, which have been empty for the last eighteen
months. On the Peppard Road, the only remaining building from Fisher's
yard has been given permission to upgrade to a shop.
A meeting organised by MP Rob Wilson, 'Campaign against Over-development'
included a talk by Greg Clarke MP, a supporter of the Parliamentary
Bill to protect green spaces and remove gardens from 'brownfield' classification.
All too often developers see gardens as an 'easy target' and redundant
industrial land a bit more of an effort. If you have friends or relatives
in different parts of the country suggest they alert their own MP to
the significance of this.
Neighbourhood Police Officers
Sgt Warren McKeown has been replaced by Sgt Nigel Scarratt, and PC
John Finnerty has returned to the area to replace PC Chris Manetta.
PCSOs Jeni Williams and John Hendy remain in their roles. In an emergency
phone 999. To report a crime that has happened ring 0845 8505505.
It may not necessarily be followed up, but the police are keen that
all crime is reported to accurately reflect their statistics.
The Upper Caversham Neighbourhood Action Group
This group formed in April of this year meets every six weeks at Mapledurham
Pavilion at 7.00pm. EGRA has managed to send along a representative
each time, but the police would welcome a stronger presence of residents.
With the focus now on community policing, this is a unique opportunity
to give your direct feedback on concerns you may have. The main focus
is still anti-social behaviour, burglary, and traffic. Forthcoming
dates are scheduled for 12th December, 22nd January, 6th March. The
first of these has official confirmation.
As usual, members of the public have the opportunity to meet the neighbourhood
police team at Church House, Caversham on the first Monday of each
month between 5pm and 8.00pm.
Telephone no. for the office answerphone is 0118 9474269
Safer Caversham Community Forum
Vera Bodman is the main representative at these meetings. The feedback
generally is that crime is falling and Emmer Green is one of the safest
areas within Reading.
As part of the anti-social behaviour campaign, for a limited time,
Reading Borough Council have funding to remove graffiti from private
property. EGRA's Environment Officer Bob Cruickshank, has been reporting
unwanted artwork to the Council Graffiti Team, and they are currently
working on nine reported defacements. The anti-graffiti campaign
in Emmer Green has been a big success and long may it remain so.
Road Junction Changes
Duck signs were installed at the end of July and a number of other
works undertaken to make things much safer for our feathered friends.
The road enhancements began at the end of August and disruption has
been much less than expected. The result is now, that pedestrians
and waddling birds feel much safer with a lights-controlled Puffin
(how appropriate!) crossing, and traffic has to slow down for the
roundabout. An added bonus is that it's much easier to turn out of
the Old Peppard/Lowfield Road now. The disappearance of the railings
at the north of the junction of Kidmore End Road/Peppard Road is
Precinct Car Park
There are still problems with drainage and lighting. Action is made
complex by the multiple ownership. Cllr Mark Ralph has indicated
a possibility that this area could, in time, be adopted by the Council.
Grove Road Planters
Things have moved forward on this project with a promise to regenerate
the area soon. The worst affected trees have already been felled,
and within the next month the crumbling planters will be taken away.
Letters will be sent to nearby residents soon explaining things and
asking them to choose the species to replace the old alders. It is
hoped the work will be completed by the end of 2007.
Paul Gallagher continues to monitor local Tree Preservation Orders
by extracting from the RBC TPO database all the trees in Emmer Green.
In conjunction with this we have the chance to contribute to the
Chilterns AONB project 'Special Trees of The Chilterns' www.chilternsaonb.org/special.
Volunteers are collecting information on special trees in their area
- commemorative, veteran, unusual shapes, avenues of trees. Parkland,
countryside and pub gardens are amongst the areas to look. Emmer
Green is included.
As part of the Local Area Enhancement Scheme the Council has a pot
of money to spend on tree planting in the Peppard Road/ Buckingham
Drive/ Lowfield Road areas. Discussions are underway as to how best
to use this. Volunteers willing to help with planting should contact
Cllr Mark Ralph, or feedback to EGRA.
We are building good relationships with the appropriate RBC staff,
who are happy that we feedback areas of dissatisfaction, so they can
take action. Their resources are limited, but so far we have had positive
responses. All grass cutting now falls under one department, and although
this year things have been a bit slower than had been hoped due to
readjustments and machinery on order, the aim is to achieve the maximum
of 10 cuts in 2008.
A reminder that EGRA has a recycling page on its website www.map-reading.co.uk/egra/recycling.
It's just been updated with the news that there's an oil recycling
point at the Tesco store along Napier Road. RBC now say that aluminium
foil and trays can go in recycle bins. It is hoped new glass bottle
banks will be installed in Emmer Green - one in the Golf Club car
park, and other possible sites under consideration. It is hoped there
will be a consultations process with nearby residents.
It is very heartening to see that over the last few years, since the
Grove Road allotments were given a 'make-over', that the plots are
all taken and there is now a waiting list. Anyone wanting add their
name to the list should contact Andy Agnew or Marcus Hermon at Reading
Borough Council on 0118 9399045.
New Display Boards
Thanks to Bryan Verran, EGRA has procured some very respectable display
boards. A photographic timeline of EGRA's work was assembled for the
CADRA celebrations and it is hoped to use the boards on other occasions.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank member Sue Ballard
for storing the Millennium Exhibition boards for a number of years.
Community Notice Board
We continue to monitor the community notice board, which is for use
by local people to promote forthcoming events and activities. It's
free and there's no need to seek permission, but please remove your
poster after your event. Small 'for sale' items can be posted, but
please ensure they have a date and take down if the item sells. EGRA
bears no responsibility for any content of the ads.
Recommended Tradesmen's List
The next biannual overhaul is in spring 2008, Please pass on information
to committee member Bob Cruickshank 0118 9482900, email email@example.com.
Friends of Clayfield Copse continue to meet for active conservation
work on the first Sunday of each month. They also arrange guided
walks through the woods. Contact Anne Latto email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St Barnabas Building Fund
The church recently launched a fundraising recipe book in aid of the
new Parish Centre, the building of which will start in 2008. 'St Barnabas
Bites' contains over 80 recipes from the congregation and friends £6.00
a copy or 2 copies for £10.00! Contact: Shirley on 0118 9478343
or Joy on 0118 9470566.
BEYOND OUR BOUNDARIES
CADRA 40th Anniversary
Caversham and District Residents' Association marked their anniversary
on October 17th with an evening at Caversham Park Primary School, involving
contributions from wide-ranging local organisations, including the
library, Caversham Globe, Caversham Court Gardens Restoration Project.
Plans for the new Reading Station were also on show. CADRA charted
their history with various accounts and photos. Slide shows of old
Caversham were also shown. EGRA took along its new display boards plus
a few items from the Emmer Green Millennium Exhibition. Thanks to Helen
Lambert and her team for all their hard work and our invitation to
Caversham Good Neighbours
This is a group of volunteers who serve people in the Caversham, Emmer
Green, Mapledurham. If you can spare any time, ring the Caversham
Bridge Office on 0118 948 3466.