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University launches new Community Fund

University of Reading and John Sykes Foundation logos

Today the University, in partnership with the John Sykes Foundation, is launching a new Community Fund, to support colleagues working on projects which benefit the local community in Reading.

£50,000 is available for use in the coming academic year and forms part of our commitment to being a university for Reading; one engaged with the town and its people. This new Community Fund builds on the University Endowment Fund schemes run over the past five years and, if successful over a two-year pilot, will become an on-going fund, dedicated to supporting research work and other projects in our community.  

The Community Fund is open to applications from all University academic and professional colleagues to support projects they are involved with either as part of their role, or in a voluntary capacity. The project must involve working with and for the benefit of a local Reading community group or individual(s) and should be located within a 5-mile radius of Reading town centre. Proposed activities must also further at least one of the University's charitable objectives of advancing education, learning or research.  The emphasis of the Fund is to provide one-off, smaller awards (in the region of £1,000 p.a.) to projects. However, thanks to the generous financial support from the John Sykes Foundation, we can now consider making larger awards (up to a maximum of £10,000 p.a.) on a one-off or multi-year basis.  

We are seeking colleagues wishing to apply for the next academic year. If you are interested in applying, please read the Community Fund Guidance Notes (Word, 1MB) before completing the attached application form (Word, 1MB). Please return the application form by 30 June 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified in September 2021, following review of all the projects by a selection panel, which includes both our Vice-Chancellor, Robert Van de Noort and John Sykes - the Chair of Trustees.

Annabelle Sykes, Trustee, commented:

"The John Sykes Foundation are excited to partner with the University of Reading, engaging with our community to help build brighter futures for charities, groups, and individuals within the Reading area. My Family and I have an unwavering love of, and are immensely proud of, Reading, where our heritage is so deeply rooted, and we place the local community at the heart of what we do. This partnership, strengthened by our shared values and positive ethos, presents us with great opportunities, and it is so wonderful our University is not only of Reading, but also the University for Reading."

Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor, commented:

"So many of my colleagues are actively involved in building positive relationships with the local community either through their day jobs or in a voluntary capacity. The new Community Fund will enable us as University to do more at a time when many need it most. I looking forward to hearing about projects that we can support through this fund."

Sally Lloyd Evans, Public Engagement with Community Research Fellow, commented:

"Many of our colleagues, students and organisations have inspirational ideas for building important grassroots projects with local communities, but they lack the resources to get initiatives started.  This new Community Fund is core to the University's commitment to working together with our local communities for the mutual benefit of everyone in Reading.  I'm excited to be part of this programme and I can't wait to see how it develops!"

John Sykes Foundation 

Established in 2014 by John Sykes, the John Sykes Foundation is a UK registered charity which has been established to improve the lives and well-being of individuals and communities within the town of Reading where there is an element of disadvantage. Read more about the Foundation at

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