Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Carols by Candlelight

A packed congregation enjoyed a wonderful festive carol service. With musical entertainment from Earley St Peter’s Primary School, Reading Bach Choir and Harriet Kirk. Plus an entertaining appeal from Launchpad Patron Matt Allwright with musical accompaniment from friend Davie McGirr.

Launchpad supporters, staff, volunteers, clients and patrons attended our ninth annual carol service at Reading Minster in St Mary’s Butts. Lord Carnarvon, former Reading FC Captain Ady Williams and Lady Stevenson all took part in the service.

BBC One’s Matt Allwright’s appeal was preceded by a rendition of ‘Hear the whistle blow a hundred miles’ sung by Matt and his friend Davie McGirr. Matt then asked the congregation to rate 2016 out of 10, as the Allwright household have given it a low score due to ‘BPBT’… Bowie, Prince, Brexit and Trump. As a journalist Matt admitted the way in which we’re being told stories by the media is very simplistic and things are much more complex than we may be led to believe. Much like homelessness, it’s not straightforward, it’s not just people sleeping rough, and it’s not just one thing that has led to someone becoming homeless. There is a complexity to everyone’s situation, whether it’s a single parent in unsuitable B&B accommodation or a single man sleeping on a friend’s sofa suffering from mental health issues. Launchpad takes the time to understand the complexity of everyone’s situation and provide the appropriate support to help them. Matt then encouraged the congregation to wrap new £5 notes in a £20 note as they are ‘funnelled’ past Launchpad bucket collectors as they left Reading Minster.

Thank you to everyone who attended Carols by Candlelight and to everyone who took part, we welcomed the most people to Reading Minster in the nine years we’ve held the carol service and we are very grateful to the local community for all of their support.

All the photos from Carols by Candlelight 2016 can be viewed here >

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight 2017

The date is set for our Carols by Candlelight event this Christmas: Thursday 7 December 2017. Please check back later in the year for more information and ticket details.

Reading Bach Choir and Launchpad Schools Choir Competition

We’re delighted to have run our exciting competition for primary school choirs for a second year.

Local primary schools had the chance to be part of Carols by Candlelight and a unique opportunity to sing alongside the Reading Bach Choir. Primary schools choirs of up to 30 pupils were invited to submit an eight minute performance of two Christmas songs.

The three finalists Earley St Peter’s, Sonning and New Christ Church were invited to the grand final, where musical director, Matthew Hamilton, listened to and appraised each performance before holding a fun workshop with all three choirs.

The winning choir, Earley St Peter’s performed at Launchpad’s Carols by Candlelight on Thursday 8 December 2016.

If you’re interested in entering in 2017 please contact Sophie Adele Stokes if you’d like more information and to register your interest. Email sophie.stokes@launchpadreading.org.uk or call 0118 929 1221.