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Reading shopping centre grants Christmas wishes with £20,000 donation

The Oracle
The Oracle Riverside is donating 10 £2,000 grants to charities across the local area.

TEN LOCAL charities have been granted their Christmas wishes this year.

The Oracle is making a series of donations to support groups through the pandemic.

The shopping centre is helping charities through its Giving Back Project by donating 10 £2,000 grants.

Charities had to meet a set of criteria, including offering food bank support and providing employment opportunities, to be eligible for the donation.

Berkshire Women’s Aid, the specialist domestic abuse service which supports people across the county, is one of the 10 groups The Oracle is supporting this year.

“During lockdown we saw a huge increase in demand for our services from victims and their families experiencing domestic abuse,” said Andrea West, the charity’s CEO.

According to Ms West, this high demand has put enormous stress on Berkshire Women’s Aid’s services.

“We are enormously grateful to The Oracle for this invaluable funding enabling us to support local people when they need it most,” she added.

New Beginnings, a group working to prevent poverty and help people facing financial hardship in the region, has also been gifted one of the grants.

“This will go a long way in helping us support people in need in Reading,” Grace Gomez, chairperson and founder of New Beginnings said.

“The current pandemic has put a huge strain on families and individuals – in one week alone, we gave away food parcels for over 100 individuals and their dependents.”

Andy Briggs, general manager at The Oracle, said that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and Berkshire’s local charities have gone above and beyond to continue their support.

“This project is all about giving something back to those groups that have pulled out all the stops over the past few months, and need a helping hand to ensure they can continue to carry out their vulnerable work,” he explained.

Hammerson, which owns The Oracle, is also running the Giving Back Project in nine other destinations up and down the country.

The remaining eight charities which also received grants are:

  • Coffee and Craft, a charity which connects Reading’s community through creative activities.
  • Faith Christian Group, which runs a number of projects helping the homeless and vulnerable in the local area.
  • World Education Berkshire, a charity which teaches local communities about sustainable eating.
  • CommuniCare, a local advice group which supports vulnerable residents in need.
  • Parents and Children Together, a community project which empowers women in the region.
  • The Mustard Tree Foundation, a charity which mentors disadvantaged young people.
  • Utulivu Women’s Group, which supports Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in the local community.
  • Launchpad Reading, a leading homelessness prevention charity which supports residents at risk of losing their home.

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