Giving Page Launched to Support the Mayor’s Charities

Mayor's Charity Launch
A NEW fundraising site for the Mayor of Reading’s chosen charities has been launched featuring a new specially designed logo.

Councillor Debs Edwards revealed the four charities she will be working with this year during the Mayor Making ceremony in May.

All funds raised during her year in office will be split equally between Berkshire Women’s Aid, Berkshire West Your Way, Launchpad Reading and the YMCA Reading.

Work has already started on fundraising ideas and events for the year ahead. The new Virgin Money Giving page at will make it easier for people to donate to the Mayor’s Charity Fund. The site uses the Mayor of Reading Charity Fund logo kindly created and donated by Cream Designs.

Cllr Edwards said:

“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.

“I am therefore calling on everyone to join me in helping to raise awareness of and raise funds for my four Mayor’s Charities this year.”

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.

Liz Terry, Chief Executive of Berkshire Women’s Aid, said:

“Berkshire Women’s Aid is delighted to be selected as one of the Mayor’s charities.

“Cllr Edwards is a long standing supporter of the charity and as well as any money raised, the awareness raising she will enable over the coming year will ensure that more victims will know that there is non-judgemental support out there for them when they feel ready to talk about it.”

Berkshire West Your Way

The Together charity was formed in 1879 and is the UK’s oldest community mental health charity. Berkshire West Your Way is our local Together for mental wellbeing group. They believe that people with mental health issues have the right and the abilities to lead independent, fulfilling lives as part of their communities.

Kris Augustyn, Project Manager Berkshire West Your Way, said:

“We are delighted that the Berkshire West Your Way has been chosen as one of the Mayor’s Charity of the Year. We thank members for their support for Berkshire West Your Way in raising awareness of Wellbeing.

“The service will facilitate peer-led support for people who have experienced mental health problems, bringing people together and facilitating support networks as well as helping people to navigate other community services.

“The service will provide a bridge between statutory/acute services and other community support. By applying recovery principles, the service is expected to promote social inclusion for people with mental health problems, and reduce the need for formal crisis support, including hospital admission.”

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.

Sophie Adele Stokes, Launchpad Fundraiser, said:

“We are so grateful to Councillor Debs Edwards for choosing Launchpad as one of her charities of the year. We are looking forward to working with the Mayor and her other chosen charities and so pleased Debs is joining us at Launchpad’s Big Sleep Out on Friday 31 August. Debs is the first Reading Mayor to sleep out, to raise awareness of homelessness in Reading!”


The YMCA is the largest and the oldest charity working with young people in the world. YMCA Reading was formed in 1847 and since its very beginnings has worked with young men and women in need. Our YMCA is a thriving and active community, a community that is transforming lives. They focus on young people and help them play an active and fulfilling role within our community.

Arlene Kersley, Chief Executive of YMCA Reading, said:

“YMCA Reading are so pleased to be recognised by Mayor Debs Edwards in this way.  We look forward to working with her and the other charities during the year, and having the opportunity to shine a light on the good work we do with young people in Reading.”

Visit to find out more about the Mayor’s Charities and to make a donation.

David Millward

For media enquiries about this release call 0118 937 4289