In just 4 days, ACORN Reading will hold our launch meeting. We will decide what we want to campaign on and what actions we want to take. In 4 days, ACORN members in Reading will take a stand, to start having an impact on the issues that are affecting us most.
On Tuesday 23rd February at 7pm in New Christ Church Primary School hall, Milman Road, RG2 0AY, members of ACORN Reading and interested residents will come together. We'll discuss issues that we're facing, decide which problems to tackle first and what actions to take. We'll decide to take a stand, and start having an influence on the decisions that directly impact on our lives.
This meeting will be the formal launch of the ACORN branch in Reading. For the last couple of months, organisers and members have spoken to nearly 1,000 people in Reading. We've been asking them what things need to change to have a positive impact on our day to day lives. We've had people telling us about the cost of the care for elderly people. Some have spoken about police harassment. Other's have mentioned how they don't feel safe going out at night. Almost all feel like there's no community anymore.
Most have also mentioned in one way or another the cost and quality of housing in Reading. Whether it's letting agents charging rip off fees, or rents going sky high, or repairs not being done, or just areas getting more and more run down because landlords don't care and no-one lives in an area for more than a few months, it's clear there's a real problem with housing in Reading, especially in the private rented sector.
It seems that no-one seems to have asked us, the residents, what we want to happen in our town. But we think that even if they’re not asking, we can and should tell them and make them listen to us. ACORN is a new organisation in Reading, locally based in Katesgrove but concerned with the whole town, which organises residents to take power and get our voices heard about the decisions and issues that matter to us. So, the question we're asking is: what do we want?
This launch meeting will be the start. ACORN branches have started in Bristol, London and Newcastle, there are groups coming together in places like Birmingham and Bedminster, and we have tens of 1000s of contacts across the country. In Reading we're expecting a large number of residents to attend, and as a group we will decide on what we want to do. Our members have already started planning a few activities, but we want everyone to have their say and input. It'll also be a chance for curious people to come along and see what we're all about.
And all this happens in just 4 days!
We're asking people who are planning to come to let us know by RSVP'ing either through the website, or through the facebook event. The more people involved, the more things we can do, and the greater the difference we can make. Say you're coming today, bring all your friends and family along and let's make it a night to remember!
The response has been amazing so far. Loads of people have signed up to say they're coming along, our members are organising and running the meeting, and groups of our members are coming together and planning actions together. People are able to volunteer to help here. Many of our members chip in a little bit of money each month to support the organisation, do that by clicking here. There are also a few things that could be done to help make Tuesday a success.
- We need help phoning loads of people in the area inviting them to the meeting. We'll be meeting in our office (Flat 10, Solent Court, Southampton Street, RG1 2QS. Map here) on Sunday between 3pm and 8pm. Drop in when you want, for as long as you want - there will be refreshments and biscuits, and there may even be pizza!
- Tell your friends! Share the details of this event using the facebook event here. Homes, jobs, services. Reading residents, what matters most? Come and decide the first campaign for ACORN Reading.
- Put a poster up in your window. Get in touch if haven't got a poster for your window already and want one.
If you can't come to the meeting, but want to hear more about what we're doing and getting more involved in building this community union, please do let us know via email or by facebook.
But ultimately, if you're able, come to the meeting on Tuesday 23rd February at 7pm. Let us know you're coming here or through facebook, bring all your friends and family, and let's get together to make a real difference in Reading.