Rotary Club of Reading

Reading Family Aid

Sallie Wall

RFA is entirely staffed by volunteers who aim to put a smile on the faces of the children they help and bring some incidental cheer to their families. Schools, Home Start and social services provide names of children who are in need of the aid that RFA can provide. Some of the children are from broken homes, some are autistic and some are refugees.
Each year 150 children are taken to a local pantomime, there are outings to London Zoo (five coach loads of children!) and in the summer children with physical or developmental disabilities enjoy a week's break at Camp Mohawk, which provides a break for their families. A project that takes much of RFA's time is the provision of Christmas presents, which are collected and categorized according to the gender, age and preferences of the child. Social workers then distribute the gifts in good time for Christmas.
'Reading Chronicle' acts as sponsors for RFA and they get help from companies in the area but there is still a lot of money to be raised, especially as there are now no local authority grants. It costs about 10,000 per annum to run RFA, all of which is spent directly on the children - there are no overheads. Fundraising takes the form of stalls at local events, coffee mornings and direct appeals.
Footnote: The need for such a charity in a prosperous place like Reading may seem strange but the latest available statistics show that no less than 24% of children in the town live in poverty.