Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Carols by Candlelight

Launchpad’s annual carol service celebrated its tenth year this 7 December.

A congregation of 600 supporters, volunteers, patrons, clients and staff enjoyed Launchpad’s tenth Carols by Candlelight service on Thursday 7 December. The wonderful festive evening included reading’s from The Hon Mrs Mary Bayliss JP, The Earl of Carnarvon, Launchpad volunteer Phyl Perriton and Mrs Adrian Scrope, DL, The High Sheriff of The Royal County of Berkshire. Musical entertainment was provided by Reading Bach Choir, St Teresa’s Catholic Academy, Danyl Johnson, mezzo soprano Harriet Kirk, Patron Matt Allwright and Davie McGirr.

One of the highlights of the evening was the magical rendition of Silent Night performed by the winners of the Primary School Competition St Teresa’s Catholic Academy, Danyl Johnson and Reading Bach Choir. St Teresa’s also performed a fun rendition of Run Shepherds.

Matt Allwright’s insightful appeal acknowledged our first full house for Carols by Candlelight and suggested next year we need to book the 02! He then continued with how we should all appreciate our own homes especially with so much uncertainty at the moment. But spare a thought for those who don’t have a home in the way many people recognise a home. Spare a thought for the hidden homeless, children who don’t stay in the same bedroom for long enough to put their posters up.

He went on to say, working hard simply isn’t enough anymore, to have a home you need to have been lucky, to have inherited money, won the lottery. You also have to be lucky to avoid mental illness, a relationship breakdown, poor choices, addiction and disability. Matt went on to talk about Tom* who’s story was featured in the order of service, yes he made poor choices that made him feel good at the time, but who hasn’t made poor choices and luckily got away with them. Be part of the solution and support Launchpad. The Reverend Judith Sumner echoed Matt’s appeal, with the sentiment, words are easy to say but empty words won’t do, engage in your world and make a difference.

Launchpad’s tenth annual Carols by Candlelight service was the most successful to date and raised a staggering £11,313.61. Thank you to all who attended, volunteered and supported the event.

See the photos from Carols by Candlelight 2017 here >

All proceeds go directly to Launchpad, allowing us to continue our crucial work to prevent homelessness in Reading, over the festive season and all year round.

Carols by Candlelight

Reading Bach Choir and Launchpad School Choir Competition

This Christmas local primary schools had the chance to sing alongside X Factor finalist Danyl Johnson and the acclaimed Reading Bach Choir. Launchpad’s exciting competition entered it’s third year, after it secured exceptionally talented choirs in 2015 and 2016 to sing at our Carols by Candlelight service.

Thirteen primary schools choirs submitted eight minute performances of two Christmas songs.

Three finalists: Collecton, the Hawthorns and St Teresa’s were invited to the grand final, where musical director, David Young and Danyl Johnson listened to and appraised each performance before holding a fun workshop with all three choirs.

St Teresa’s Catholic Academy clinched the final with a stunning performance which our judges said combined ‘beautiful singing with a huge amount of fun’.

St Teresa’s performed at Launchpad’s Carols by Candlelight on Thursday 7 December at Reading Minster.