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Hidden stories from Reading's older residents 

We've been working with The Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) and Younger People With Dementia to gather stories of our older generation, from seeking out photos to listening to individuals share tales of how they lived in 20th century Reading.

Read the stories on the MERL's website, here.

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 At the Twyford Growers Allotment

Britain in Bloom with the Royal Horticultural Society

The RHS have awarded the ‘Twyford Growers’ project a 2021 Its Yours Neighbourhood Digital Award of Achievement and Neighbourhood Digital Award of Excellence in Community and Environment.

Twyford Growers is an allotment group for people with feelings of anxiety, depression and/or loneliness. It has been set up by a group of Councillors, professionals, and enthusiastic individuals, led by Councillor Rohana Abeywardana and headed up by Twyford Parish Council with the support of and working with Involve, Age UK Berkshire and local NHS Social Prescribers.

Councillor Abeywardana was inspired when he heard a talk given to Twyford Allotment Tenants’ Association by gardening writer and founder of Life at No.27, Annabelle Padwick, about her work to create an allotment therapy site in Towcester and the benefits of allotments for mental health. This inspiration came together with a desire to support residents living with low to mid-level anxiety and depression and feelings of loneliness. Other local organisations shared these aims, and so the Twyford Growers was established, with residents able to refer themselves directly or be invited to the group through the Social Prescribers based at Twyford Surgery. At the plot people take part in therapeutic gardening sessions with activities led by a horticultural therapist, Christina Hughes Nind.

The judges liked the idea of supporting good mental health through therapist led therapeutic gardening sessions and commented on the following:

  • Superb range of organisation liaison
  • Great engagement using social media
  • Encouraged transport to the site by foot leading to decreased pollution
  • Equipment mainly reused and upcycled
  • Use of locally discarded coffee chaf
  • Coppicing on site for plant supports
  • No dig approach in conjunction with green manure and mulching leading to enhanced fertility and soil structure
  • Wide range of crops and plants grown on rotation – mainly from seed or plant donations
  • Companion planting used which encourages biodiversity
  • Spiral bed maze
  • Herbal tea tray

The project will close for the winter months and reopen in the spring of 2022.

OPD's 2021 Leaflet

We are excited to be taking part in Older People's Day at Broad Street Mall again! 

The dementia friendly event starts at 10 am and will be followed by a host of free entertainment including live musical performances, Tai Chi, Origami and a special visit from The Mayor.

There will be over 30 information stalls, with organisations ranging from advice and support agencies, to social and exercise groups, with representation from the different communities across Reading.

UK Older People’s Day is on 1st October every year to coincide with the UN International Day of Older Persons. The main aim for the day is to celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the economy. Older People’s Day supports the campaign to challenge negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes.

For more information about the event or to get a free booklet with information about local services please email opwg@reading.gov.uk or call 07811 026070. 

Fiona Price, CEO of Age UK Berkshire says; “Following a difficult year, we are thrilled to be back at the Broad Street Mall to celebrate Older People's Day, this will be a great event for the older Reading residents and we look forward to welcoming them’.

Organisations supporting the event include: Age UK Berkshire and Age UK Reading, Reading Museum, Healthwatch Reading, Reading District Oddfellows, MacMillian Cancer Information, Berkshire Vision, MyCareMyHome and The Royal Berkshire Hospital.

We will also be in the Lexicon in Bracknell and the Market Place in Wokingham if you want to come and say hello to our team!


It's Big Knit time!

Big Knit smoothie bottles with knitted hats

The Age UK/Innocent Smoothies Big Knit is back for 2021! So grab your needles and your yarn and get knitting smoothie hats for Age UK.

This is a perfect opportunity to take up a new fun activity in lockdown while also supporting us. Help us be there for older people who have no one else to turn to.  

All you have to do is knit as many or few little hats as you like, with any pattern you fancy, and pop them in the post to us at: 

Age UK Berkshire, Huntley House, 119 London St, Reading, RG1 4QA.

Alternatively, you can drop them at our office.  

Please note that for us to recieve any funds raised from the hats you create, they must be sent to or dropped off at our local branch rather than the national Age UK. 

To find out more about the scheme, and to download this year's knitting and crochet patterns, visit 


For more info on our participation in the project, read this news article.

Age UK Berkshire awarded Charity Quality Standard

We are proud to have achieved the Age UK Charity Quality Standard (CQS) which recognises the high standard of our performance as an organisation.

The Standard is externally assessed and awarded to members of the Age UK network that have demonstrated they are well governed and managed; have a clear direction and strategy; and are committed to ensuring the well-being and safety of older people, their staff and volunteers.

We achieved the Standard following a rigorous examination of our work and a full day assessment visit by leading experts SGS.

Friendly Gardeners group in Reading

If you enjoy gardening and would like to make some new friends, why not join us at Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading RG1 2SB on Fridays from 10am to 12 noon.

Phone 0118 959 4242 to find out more, or email info@ageukberkshire.org.uk

The first session is free, then a suggested donation of £3 each week. 

Refreshments are provided.

Are you a priority customer?

Age UK Berkshire are working with Thames Water and Scottish & Southern Electricity to highlight the benefits of their priority registers, which offer people over 60 some additional help in case of an issue with water or power supplies in their area. Customers can sign up to the scheme online, or ring the office on 0118 959 4242 and we will send you a leaflet with all the details. Other energy companies have similar schemes - for details, phone your supplier or visit their website.