On behalf of the Berkshire Youth Trust, we would like to thank everyone who attended our drinks reception at the House of Lords back in February – photographs of which are available on our website. We could not have wished for a better way to launch the Waterside Centre in Newbury, whose construction officially began on 28th September!

In this spirit we’d like to lend special thanks to a few who have contributed towards these efforts: Nick MaughanGarfield Weston FoundationBernard Sunley CharityClothworkers’ FoundationBradfield College and the Greenham Trust who we seek to further explore local based match funding options..

Thanks to their generous support we have reached £1m of our goal, with £550k left to raise for the completion of our first Inspired Facility in Newbury, with an expected completion date of Spring 2021.

So much has happened since February 2020 that it must now seem a world away for many of us. Along with the rest of the country, we have become more aware – and indeed more grateful – than ever before of the indispensable role played by community and public services in all of our lives, no matter what our socioeconomic background.

In the last six months we’ve witnessed some of the best of humanity, as communities across the world have sought to harness their collective strength to overcome universal vulnerabilities. We like to think that these are the virtues on which the Berkshire Youth Trust was founded. We recognise that for societies to retain their resilience and create opportunities for growth and flourishment, the most vulnerable members of our communities must never be left behind.

While the experience of the ongoing pandemic has highlighted some of our strengths, it has unfortunately also thrown some of our greatest weaknesses and inequities into sharp relief. This new disease has disproportionately affected the disadvantaged and those struggling just to get by. Many who used to seek refuge through our support structure have been forced to stay at home, where often the most abuse occurs. We are proud to have been able to continue helping through our online hubs, however now more than ever, in the face of a long winter, we are in need to be prepared for when we return to a new normal.

Disadvantaged youths are on course to suffer an incalculable sum of further setbacks, as public debt mounts and employment opportunities dwindle. The experience of the past six months has exacerbated differences in educational conditions for those families without the means to weather the storm.

But we can choose to do something about it. The Berkshire Youth Trust is more committed than ever to continuing its work towards levelling the playing field by providing shelter, community and personal development opportunities to those who need it the most.

Due to the understandable precautions put in place to protect our communities, we are unable to hold another large-scale event. Instead, we invite you receive this monthly newsletter, to keep you updated about progress with the Waterside Centre, as well as our ongoing plans to expand the ‘Inspired Facility’ blueprint. We will be continuing our much-needed fundraising efforts and ask you to please get involved or help put us in touch with those who might be interested in supporting Berkshire’s most vulnerable.

Finally, we will also be linking to news of interest regarding local and national government initiatives of relevance, and keeping you informed about future projects and events of the Berkshire Youth Trust.

We hope you’ll choose to keep in touch with us, and spread the word to neighbours, colleagues, and friends.