As part of the Our Country Lives Activity Plan, we have been working with local Reading audiences to establish links with our neighbours and develop long and sustainable relationships. A ward we’ve spent a lot of time working with this year is Katesgrove.
We’ve been working with the excellent organisation Katesgrove Community Association (KCA), a grassroots community group run by the people of the district for the district and they carry out incredibly important work. We attended the Tea and Toast session and the May Fair at Katesgrove primary school; we chatted to parents and children alike about MERL and the Our Country Lives project. We were invited to the Knit and Natter session held at Waterloo Meadows Children’s Centre, chatting to local residents and working on our tapestry for Sew Engaging with them. We in turn hosted their Christmas party at MERL, a great opportunity to show residents who have never visited before a behind the scenes tour of the building works. During the October half term Phillippa and I attended the Aveley Walk play street. We made bats with the children for Halloween; met lots of residents in the local area and also had a great time meeting all the animals from the petting farm.
To celebrate Christmas,myself, Phillippa and our volunteer Steffanie, attended the Katesgrove Community Association Christmas Fair. Not only did we meet Father Christmas, but we had the opportunity to meet lots more residents and ask them what they thought about MERL and the countryside.
Within the Katesgrove area is the Rising Sun Arts Centre, an organisation we’ve been working on partnership projects with for the past three years. The Rising Sun delivers a vital service to many, running all sorts of sessions and classes and is mainly a volunteer-run organisation. This year they’ve been part of the Sew Engaging project. Their contribution will make a substantial part of the final project display. We’ve also hosted some of their groups at MERL, providing them with a behind the scenes tour and discussing the issues of living and working in the countryside.
In 2016 we’ll be continuing to build on these relationships within the Katesgrove community. We’d like to thank everyone for welcoming us into their groups and events. In particular Abby Knowles from the Katesgrove Community Association, Larry Watson from the Rising Sun Arts Centre and Caroline Uwais from Katesgrove Primary school.