Reading challenged to Narrow The Gap on poverty

Reading has been issued with a challenge to narrow the gap at a new conference taking place this month.

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A response to last year’s Tackling Poverty in Reading event, the evening meeting will find out what has happened over the past year to narrow the gap to tackle poverty in everything from housing, health, education and care.

The conference will be held in Reading’s Town Hall on Tuesday, November 18 from 5.30pm to 8pm and be attended by a range of groups across town including ReadiFood and CCA.

Participants will be able to interact and network through a market place of stalls and discussion groups on health, education, employment and skills, care, neighbourhoods and housing, identifying further opportunities for us all to work together to ensure that we can help people earlier so they can seize the opportunities on offer within Reading.

It starts with a welcome from the leader of Reading Borough Council, Cllr Jo Lovelock, before a keynote address from Jonathan Carr-West, the chief executive of think tank LGIU (Local Government Information Unit).

There will then be break out groups that will explore issues behind poverty in Reading despite the town’s high levels of employment, prosperity, educational attainment and good health.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jo Lovelock said: “Economic prosperity in Reading sits alongside levels of deprivation, which continue to exist. Not everyone has the same opportunities in life and there continue to be many residents who, through no fault of their own, struggle to access the opportunities on offer.

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“The Council wants everyone in Reading to fulfil their potential. Despite the on-gong reductions in Council budgets and increasing demands on services, we are determined to focus resources on those vulnerable members of our community who are being left behind.

“The Narrowing the Gap conference on November 18 is an important stage in that process and we hope that partners, voluntary and community groups, businesses and individuals can come together to help us identify ways in which we can continue to bridge that gap.

The event is aimed at public service providers, businesses, employers, head teachers, governors, providers of employment and training, Housing Associations, GPs, care providers, voluntary and community organisations, trades unions, faith organisations and interested residents. The Council says that there is already a good level of interest in the event with 119 registrations as of the end of last month. This year Reading Borough Council is asking regular attendees to bring someone new to the event along with them.

Tickets are free and can be reserved by logging on to the Eventbrite website –


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