Whitley’s young people make their voice heard at the WCDA AGM

Ian Holt, WCDA chair

The Whitley Community Development Association (WCDA) held a well-attended annual general meeting at the Whitley Social Club and Café on 9 February. Two students from the John Madejski Academy (JMA) told the WCDA how they helped discover some of the aspirations of Whitley’s young people.

“Were here to support and help the people of Whitley,” said WCDA chair Ian Holt. “Whitley has always been very community-minded. People from outside the area don’t see it that way… [but] they’re completely wrong. The versatility in this area is magnificent.”

WCDA expands to the advice shop

The WCDA are three years into a 15 year lease from Reading Borough Council (RBC) for their wing of the Whitley Community Hub at 252 Northumberland Avenue, and they are now expanding into the Whitley Advice Shop at 479 Northumberland Avenue, near the Christ the King Roman Catholic church.

Foreground: Tricia Pease, WCDA trustee and associate director for safeguarding and mental health at the Royal Berkshire Hospital


The WCDA had planned to deliver accounts for the last year, but this has been unexpectedly delayed because the accountant has gone on holiday. The WCDA voted to re-appoint James Cowper as auditors.

Online presence

The WCDA has a website which includes an events page, a list of current projects and a page listing local jobs. The charity also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Officer elections

Ian Holt was re-elected as WCDA chair and Maria Cox was elected vice-chair. Lisa Alloune was elected treasurer and Derek Chapman was elected secretary.

The WCDA want more trustees on their committee to help them share the responsibility of running the charity. Trustees need to live in the WCDA’s area of benefit, which is roughly Whitley and Church wards and the southern portion of Katesgrove and Redlands wards. You can contact the WCDA for more information.

The WCDA also has three associate trustees who represent organisations with an interest in the area. These are Chris Bloomfield for RBC, Tricia Pease for the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Philip Kallay for the Hexham Community Association.

Young people in Whitley

Kieran and Talia with the Whitley Young Researcher’s “Aspiration Game”

Kieran and Talia from the John Madejski Academy, members of the Whitley Researchers team who won the University of Reading Research Engagement and Impact Award last year, presented the results of their project to discover the aspirations of Whitley’s young people.

“We came up with a game like snakes and ladders,” said Kieran. “The ladders are positives in your life, and the snakes were negatives.”

“We went to schools and played the game with the pupils to find out what sort of things they want to do when they grow up,” said Talia. “Just because we’re in Whitley doesn’t mean that we don’t have aspirations. We might just need help to bring them out.”

The Aspiration in Whitley report contains the researchers’ full findings. In summary, the aspirations of Whitley’s young people ranged from getting the qualifications required to achieve a specific career, more money or a nice house to having a happy family, being a better person or helping both family and other people.

Creating stronger communities with research. (c) Reading University via Youtube

  1. Young researchers win prestigious award
  2. WCDA and Whitley Big Local
  3. Aspiration in Whitley report
  4. John Madejski Academy