Mayor Presents Charity Cheque to 2018 – 2019 Charities

CLLR DEBS Edwards, Reading’s Mayor during 2018-19, today presented her Mayoral charities with a cheque totalling almost £10K.

The £9, 861.82 raised will be split equally between Launchpad Reading, YMCA Reading, Berkshire West Your Way and Berkshire Womens’ Aid. Cllr Edwards presented the cheques to representatives from her chosen charities in a ceremony in the Mayor’s Parlour, on Tuesday 10th September. Fundraising initiatives during Cllr Edward’s time as Mayor included the sale of charity Christmas cards and proceeds from the sale of tickets from the Mayor’s Let’s Sing Competition in March, as well as sponsored teams taking part in the 2019 Sage Reading Half Marathon in March and a charity quiz and silent auction at Reading Town Hall in April.

Cllr Edwards said:

“I am absolutely thrilled by the generous amount we’ve raised for my chosen charities and would like to thank everyone who supported our fundraising activities throughout the year. The local community, businesses, Reading Borough Council staff, family and friends have been amazing! Reading is a thriving town but there are many people facing tough times who receive amazing help and support from the fantastic voluntary sector we have here. I have had the honour of working with a number of great charities and community groups who use their skills, knowledge and compassion to help others. So many good causes will benefit from this fund.”

Sophie Adele Stokes, Launchpad Fundraiser, said:

“We are so grateful to Councillor Debs Edwards for choosing Launchpad as one of her charities. We are very proud that Debs was the first Reading Mayor to take part in our Big Sleep Out. No one should have to endure sleeping on the streets, which is why Launchpad helps vulnerable people in Reading tackle their housing-related problems, obtain and sustain a long-term home and lead full and independent lives. It’s with events like Big Sleep Out and the generosity of our supporters that we are able to continue our work to prevent homelessness in Reading.”

Arlene Kersley, Chief Executive of YMCA Reading, said:

“YMCA Reading are so pleased to be recognised by Councillor Debs Edwards in this way. We have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Mayor’s Fund and are grateful to have had this opportunity to shine a light on the good work we do with young people in Reading. This money will help us to improve our sport facilities so that our young residents and the wider Reading Community will have better access to healthy activities.”

Caz Hedges, Project Manager of Together for Mental Wellbeing’s Berkshire West Your Way service, said:

“We were delighted that Together for Mental Wellbeing’s Berkshire West Your Way service was chosen as one of the Mayor’s Charities of the Year. On behalf of the people experiencing mental health issues who we work alongside, we’d like to thank everyone who donated and supported us. Every penny raised enables us to reach more people experiencing mental distress and work with them on their journey towards greater wellbeing.”

Andrea West, Chief Executive of Berkshire Women’s Aid, said:

“Berkshire Women’s Aid is grateful to have been selected as one of the Mayor’s charities. “Cllr Edwards is a long standing supporter of the charity and as well as the generous money raised, the awareness raising she has enabled over the year has ensured that more victims know that there is non-judgemental support out there for them when they feel ready to talk about it.”



Berkshire Women’s Aid Berkshire Womens Aid provides confidential support, information, outreach services and refuge accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and violence, and their children. BWA has operated in Reading since 1975. The need for their services is as great as ever as at least 1 in 4 Women in the UK will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. In 2012/13 BWA’s 24hr helpline (0118 950 4003) received 6,312 calls and an additional 4,000 plus referrals were made directly to BWA’s outreach services.

Berkshire West Your Way Berkshire West Your Way is a community mental health service run by Together for Mental Wellbeing, supporting people in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire. Together is a national charity that supports people with mental health issues to lead fulfilling and independent lives. We are the UK’s oldest community mental health charity, having been founded in 1879. Today, we work with approximately 4,500 people every month at around 70 locations across England. Our services include support in the community, accommodation-based support, advocacy and criminal justice services. For more information, visit

Launchpad Reading Launchpad is a charity that helps some of Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people to turn their lives around and fulfil their potential. It provides three services to prevent homelessness in Reading: Housing with support, preventing homelessness and a drop-in service.


Empowering young people to build a stronger community

YMCA Reading provides a host of services to young people in Reading and to the wider Reading community including: · Supported Housing for 40 vulnerable young people · Parkside Pre-School – Early Years Learning · Parkside Community Café open to all the public · YMCA Workshop alternative learning · Milward Sports Centre · Padworth Outdoor Activity Centre The YMCA is the largest and oldest charity working with young people in the world, YMCA Reading formed in 1847.