The Pride of Reading Awards are back and this year promises to be the biggest yet.
Launched at Reading’s iconic Malmaison Hotel the nomination period is now open where you can choose to nominate a person or business to be celebrated.
With 18 categories which recognise the incredible achievements from the people of Reading , Berkshire, the winners will be announced at the glamorous awards ceremony in November.
This year’s theme for the awards is Love Where You Live.
With a special guest appearance from former X-Factor finalist and patron of the awards, Danyl Johnson, the sponsors of this year’s Pride of Reading have explained just what makes these awards so special.
University of Reading – Young Person of the Year
We are proud to support the Young Person of the Year award, celebrating the young people in Reading who make an exceptional difference in their community.
The University of Reading exists to help young people fulfil their potential. We are ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide and have over 21,000 students from around 165 countries. Last year, we received a score of 83% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.
The economic, cultural and educational benefits of the university reach beyond our campuses. We welcome our local community through our SportsPark, four museums and award-winning grounds. Thousands of people attend our public events and over 750,000 individuals have signed up to our free online courses.
Our students and academics continue to contribute to the region – last year 400 students volunteered across 40 schools in Wokingham and Reading, collectively investing over 6,000 hours of their time. A multidisciplinary research team is supporting the ‘Reading 2050’ project to reimagine the future of Reading, and in 2018 we launched our Reading Refugee Scholarship Scheme for refugees in the local area.
We look forward to celebrating all the inspirational award-winners, once again, at the Pride of Reading 2019.
IKEA – Family of the Year
Today, IKEA reaches millions of hearts and homes all over the world, at the heart of the IKEA concept is our vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people.
We are passionate about people and their lives at home, and we believe that home is the most important place in the world. Home is a place to bring people together.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and much like everyone’s home, all families are unique.
This year IKEA Reading are sponsoring the Family of the Year award for the third year running.
We have loved being a part of the Pride of Reading Awards for the past two years, and to be involved in celebrating people, who make a difference, and contribute to Reading, as a unique and diverse place to live and work is fantastic.
De Vere Wokefield Estate – 999 Award
De Vere Wokefield Estate, part of De Vere’s collection of Mansion House hotels and event destinations, is proud to be sponsoring the Pride of Reading 999 Award.
The award recognises those in the emergency services who have displayed exceptional talent or performance, placing their lives on the line to ensure the safety of others. Working under stressful conditions, often in life and death situations, and delivering such remarkable levels of service and care, truly is commendable.
As part of the Reading community, we welcome this opportunity to play our small part in encouraging the recognition of great work and selfless acts that are so important, and which help to keep us all safe.
We wish all the nominees the best of luck and applaud the fantastic work they have done to date – we couldn’t be more honoured to support such deserving talent.
Reading Football Club – Community Champion
Reading Football Club prides itself on an absolute commitment to family, friendship and community.
Without the support of our community, our fans, we would be nothing. So as a club, we know how important it is that we support our community. Together, we are One Reading.
The impact the club has within our local community is evident for our coaches to see when they come into work every day, and that evidence inspires them to make a real difference to people’s lives.
Whether they be support networks for the elderly, mentors providing new pathways for young people who have fallen out of education, teachers nurturing those with learning difficulties or disabilities through school or individuals inspiring others to strive for more and overcome their personal hurdles…
Reading Football Club is extremely proud to sponsor the Community Champion award this year.
M&G Real Estate – Cultural Contribution
M&G Real Estate is an income-driven, longterm specialist global property investor, with 150 years of experience.
We manage £27.4 billion of assets (incl. cash) across the UK, continental Europe, North America and Asia, making us one of the world’s largest real estate investors.
Our aim is to deliver consistent, long-term returns to our investors through funds, segregated mandates, investment partnerships and joint ventures.
Our clients’ needs are at the heart of what we do. As those requirements change and develop, we innovate to offer new investment strategies and deal structures.
We are delighted to be involved with the Pride of Reading and feel it is vital to support the community as well as the business functions of the town.
Our development of new offices in Reading will provide further job opportunities for residents and will help create an environment people are proud to work in.
We are grateful to the organisers of Pride of Reading, who do such a fantastic job, recognising these great people and organisations that go beyond the call of duty and deserve their acknowledgement and thanks.
QWERTY – School of the Year
2019 is the eighth consecutive year that Qwerty Ltd have sponsored the School of the Year category at the Pride of Reading Awards.
Qwerty Ltd based in Theale specialise in large format, digital and traditional print, providing a full print, marketing and design service to a wide scope of clients, ranging from high street names to an ever-expanding group of locally based businesses and organisations.
By investing in, and using the latest technology, Qwerty pride themselves in being able to produce everything in-house which keeps costs under control and ensures the final product, whether it is a letterhead, outdoor signage or a complete rebrand, is of the highest quality
Sales director Martin Gardner says: “Being involved in the Pride of Reading Awards has been very enjoyable and to sponsor the School of the Year once again this year is something we find hugely rewarding.
“To win gives the successful school a chance to be acknowledged for the tremendous efforts that goes into making them stand out from the other nominees.
“We have worked with winners in previous years and are always impressed how both the staff and parents ensure the children get the best possible start in life.”
Green Park – Local Hero
For the second year running, Green Park is privileged to sponsor the Local Hero category of the Pride of Reading Awards 2019.
This category celebrates the remarkable human beings among us, who through a special act of kindness and courage make a difference to the community.
Green Park is proud to have been part of the Reading community for over 20 years.
Set in 195-acre parkland, it is home to 7,000 workers and 60 businesses – both large and small – with community integral to the Green Park ethos.
Events such as The Green Park Triathlon and the Reading Half Marathon , as well as its biodiversity initiatives such as ‘twitching’ over 50 species of birds contribute to Reading’s community.
In addition, the 120-metre wind turbine at Green Park generates enough energy to meet the needs of 1,200 homes and is fed into the National Grid.
Construction on the next phase of Green Park has begun, with two further buildings offering an additional 228,000 sq ft which will be completed in the autumn 2020.
This will allow further inward investment for Reading, encouraging businesses far and wide to come and relocate to the area.
Roc Search – Charity of the Year
Roc Search is delighted to sponsor the Charity of the Year Award for the fifth consecutive year.
A huge supporter of the local community and its charities, the company recently held a Christmas Toy Appeal that saw it donate more than 500 presents to local families through Reading Family Aid.
It also partners with the Reading Rotary Club to organise the fantastic Reading Santa Run that raised more than £30k last year for local charities.
Headquartered in Reading, Roc Search is a tech and engineering recruitment specialist with seven offices across four countries.
An Investors in People Gold accredited business, the company has featured in the Top 20 of the ‘Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For’ four years in a row.
BDB Pitmans – Business in Action
BDB Pitmans (formerly Pitmans Law) takes pride in its long-standing commitment and investment in the local community and are delighted to be sponsoring the Business in Action category for the second year running at the Pride of Reading Awards.
With offices in Cambridge, London, Reading and Southampton, BDB Pitmans is well-placed to advise on local issues and can also provide a wider regional perspective.
We provide legal advice which addresses our clients’ needs across a wide range of industry sectors and specialisms and our clients draw confidence from the top tier recognition BDB Pitmans achieves in the industry benchmarking directories, Legal 500 and Chambers UK.
This year’s theme resonates with us because for 150 years we have been helping businesses in Reading to grow, and we continue to do so today.
With the introduction of the Crossrail due, high tech offices, business parks and the new Heathrow Rail link in the pipeline, Reading is set to transform at an unprecedented rate and we believe it will be an even better place to live and work.
It is a pleasure to take part in the Pride of Reading Awards and we look forward to reviewing the submissions in order to celebrate the achievements of businesses that make Reading a better place.
IQVIA – Child of Courage
IQVIA is a leading global provider of information, innovative technology solutions and contract research services dedicated to using analytics and science to help healthcare stakeholders find better solutions for their patients.
As an international company with over 55,000 employees worldwide, whilst we have a global vision, it is important to retain a local focus and are always looking for ways to support our local community.
IQVIA, already based at Green Park, Reading, is relocating offices and is excited to have chosen to move closer to the heart of the town, with plans to grow further links with the Reading community.
It is therefore a very great honour to be continuing our support of the Pride of Reading Awards, in particular our sponsorship of the Child of Courage Award for 2019.
The Oracle – Chris Tarrant Pride of Reading Award
We at The Oracle are so excited to again be a sponsor of the Pride of Reading Awards especially on a year when we celebrate ‘Love Where You Live’, the amazing town of Reading.
Previously this award has been won by many, with differing stories who have demonstrated behaviours of strength, courage and selflessness that have left us truly inspired.
Cream – Fundraiser of the Year
Cream Design is a longstanding partner of the Pride of Reading Awards, contributing design and planning expertise as well as sponsorship.
The design consultancy is based in Reading town centre and celebrated its 20th birthday last year, having been established in 1997 by co-directors Helen Waring and Barnaby Firth.
They produce creative and engaging brand strategies, identities, website designs and ways to communicate, to help their clients to stand out, connect with their audience and flourish.
As a Reading-based business, Cream Design is proud to support many initiatives in the town, working with a large number of local organisations.
Helen Waring, account director, says: “We feel it’s essential to support locally based activities which help make Reading a brilliant place to live and work, and Pride of Reading is a real celebration of everything that’s great about our town.
“We are delighted to once again sponsor the Fundraiser of the Year Award.
“We work with many local charities so we know how hard they work to generate fundraising income for worthy causes and we look forward to celebrating their achievements at the Pride of Reading Awards.”
AB Walker – Volunteer/s of the Year
A.B. Walker work at the heart of the community and sponsoring the Pride of Reading Volunteer of the Year award seems both natural and deeply satisfying for us all.
Volunteering takes many forms – as individuals and as groups both small and large.
The determination, focus and selflessness that all of those nominated for the awards have in common, inspires all who learn of their stories and really brings home the strength of the human spirit.
Like many companies, the A.B.Walker team works together to deliver their service.
Teamwork is central to our volunteer network and the awards go some way to recognising everyone working for the common goal – whether it is to support the disadvantaged, to aid education and the young, to promote well being and health or simply doing something for others – our award both celebrates and promotes all of these causes.
Family is central to the A.B.Walker story and behind many of our finalists are family groups bound up in the volunteering.
Above all – we want to recognise that our nominees have made a conscious decision to act the way they do.
That is what sets them apart and that is what makes all of them winners.
Get Reading – Smile of the Year Award
Get Reading is a leading new website in Reading, covering the latest news, entertainment and Reading FC stories from across the town and Berkshire.
It is soon to rebrand to become Berkshire Live but will continue to cover Reading and other key towns across the county, and its support for the incredible Pride of Reading Awards.
As journalists we know that sometimes things can seem a little doom and gloom, but you don’t have to look very hard to see just how many great things happen in Reading.
That’s why we’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Smile of the Year Award, shining a light on the stories that have made Reading smile.
Last year we had some fantastic nominees for the the Smile of the Year Award and we know our readers won’t disappoint this year, bringing the most heartwarming stories from across the town to our attention.
The winner is decided by a public vote which makes the award even more special, as it truly is the story which brought a smile to the faces of people in town.
getreading will also be the exclusive publisher of all things Pride of Reading, so keep coming back to see the stories of every single nominee, as well as coverage from the ceremony in November.
Today’s top stories on getreading
Reading Buses – Employee of the Year
People are the greatest strength and asset of any organisation. At Reading Buses we recruit ‘people who like people’ in customer-facing roles, especially drivers.
We’re proud to say that customers are at the centre of everything we do.
We make no secret that we aim to be the best bus company in the country. We’ve been in operation for over 100 years and whether it’s our employees or customers, we really care about people.
This is why we wanted to give something back by sponsoring the Pride of Reading Employee of the Year Award.
Against a declining national trend we continue to grow our customer numbers year-on-year. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for our wonderful employees.
We employ over 550 people, making us (by our reckoning) the 11th largest employer in the town.
We regularly celebrate our staff successes with Star of the Month and Star of the Year schemes and are always looking to make our company an even better place to work.
We are delighted to sponsor the Employee of the Year award as it shows that Reading has a thriving economy full of companies and businesses where employees make the difference every day.
Haslams – Reading’s Best Street
At Haslams, we hold place-making and home-making at our heart, and we understand that location and a sense of community are just as important as the bricks and mortar when it comes to finding the perfect home.
This is why we’re delighted to be sponsoring Reading’s Best Street at the 2019 Pride of Reading Awards.
We are proud to be one of the oldest businesses in Reading. For over 180 years we have been rooted within the community: supporting local causes, employing local people, and servicing the needs of local customers and business alike.
Today we are 60 strong and trusted by thousands as Reading’s property experts: committed to being number one for lettings, residential, new homes, and property management.
We strongly believe in good old-fashioned customer service and we see a high street presence as central to our future.
We have invested in one of Reading’s best streets ourselves, breathing new life into 159 Friar Street with our historic landmark office, which is widely recognised as one of the best estate agency offices in the UK.
With so many things, and so many people, to be proud of in Reading, we look forward to celebrating the unsung heroes within our community.
McDonald’s – The Inspiration Award
Not many people know that more than 90 per cent of McDonald’s restaurants are owned and operated by local, independent business people.
In 2016, the seven McDonalds’ restaurants across Reading were franchised to Fortress Operations Ltd and Richard Forte, who was born in Reading and lives locally.
Employing more than 60 people across the town, our management teams have been working hard to inspire their own staff to play a role in their local communities.
This includes regularly taking part in organised litter picks, supporting local charities and raising vital funds for our Ronald McDonald House Charity which provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families while their child is in hospital.
We recognise that being a positive role model for young people and providing a little inspiration and encouragement within our own team, can make a big difference, not just for our employees but our customers and local communities too.
We are therefore very excited to have been invited to sponsor our inaugural Pride of Reading Inspiration Award reflecting our passion to give back to the communities we serve and pride in celebrating the inspirational people of Reading who make our town such a great place to live and work.
Malmaison – Champagne and wine sponsor
Malmaison Reading, the iconic boutique hotel brand, is proud to be sponsoring the Pride of Reading awards for the fourth year running and the great work done to support and inspire the people of Reading to make our city an exceptional place to live, visit and work.
Malmaison Reading’s Chez Mal bar will be sponsoring the wine and the champagne reception at the awards ceremony.
After the refurbishment of the Chez Mal Bar and Brasserie two years ago, and a refresh of the guest rooms providing a brighter, more modern experience, the hotel is excited to announce the refurbishment of their suites in summer 2019– re-affirming its status as the go-to destination in Reading, for eats, drinks and sleeps.
The Millennium Madejski Hotel – Hotel support
The Millennium Madejski Hotel first opened its doors on May 8 2000 as Reading’s newest and most stylish hotel.
Integrated into the Madejski Stadium – Home of The Royals – the AA 4* Hotel has seen many changes over the years.
In 2008 we built a five story extension to take the total number of bedrooms up to 201 and over the few years, under the new ownership of Thailand’s Srivikorn family, the hotel has carried out an extensive refurbishment of its reception, Atrium Bar and Le Café Restaurant as well as 126 of its bedrooms.
Length of service is a great indicator of how much people love where they work and it comes as no surprise to us that just over 40% of our full time team have been working together for five years or more.
What’s more surprising though is that 27% have been here for 10 plus years and 17% more than 15 years.
People from all over the world move to Reading to live, and at the last count we had 20 different nationalities including colleagues from as far away as India, Tanzania, China, South Africa and the Philippines working here, all proving that they Love where they Live.
ITM – Audio-visual support
We at ITM Event Production pride ourselves on our solid reputation for producing innovative, highly professional events, whether it be a large and small.
Our long-standing professional relationships with our clients remains testament to the service we pride ourselves on.
With over 30 years experience behind us and a team of highly skilled, professional and friendly people, you can be assured that your event or production will be in very capable hands.
In fact today, the majority of our business still comes from existing clients who have been with us from the beginning.
Based in the Thames Valley, we are in easy reach to all major travel hubs and can support your event anywhere with the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and beyond.
But that’s not all. ITM also runs a full AV equipment hire service to help you make any meeting or in-house event even more successful and engaging by bringing in the right equipment when you need it.
If you are looking for trusted, technical production experts with an eye for innovation and a passion for making your event the best it can be, get in touch with us for a chat.
The Breeze Reading – Radio sponsor
The Breeze is the local radio station for Reading, with unrivalled national and local news, traffic and travel information as well as playing the best relaxing, feel-good favourites from the world’s biggest artists including Whitney Houston, Elton John, Adele, George Michael, Ed Sheeran and ABBA.
Ease into each weekday with The Breeze Breakfast Show with Steve Priestley, join local legend Robert Kenny through the day, David Perry in the afternoon and relax with Lucy Ambache each evening on The Wind Down before indulging in the best love songs from 10pm.
The Breeze truly provides a relaxing oasis of calm for our listeners as they go about their busy lives.
You will be able to hear highlights of the Pride of Reading ceremony on Breeze.
Louise Woods – Starlet Dance School
Louise trained professionally at the Urdang Academy, Covent Garden.
She has danced for Steps, Sky Sports International Dance Team, appeared in BBC Radio 1’s Fitness DVD with Chris Moyles, Scott Mills, Colin Murray and Chappers & Dave.
Choreographed for Arlene Phillips book launch, fashions shows and has done various TV and film work for ITV & BBC.
Louise currently runs her own business, Starlet Dance School for children and adults of all ages in Shinfield and Upper Basildon.
Starlet has been established for 17 years and children have performed at various events and productions such as the Annie UK National Tour, Broad Street Mall Christmas Light Switch On, danced for Arlene Phillips, a professional music video, the Formula 1 Silverstone Grand Prix, Reading Football Club, fashion shows and much more.
Louise is delighted to be helping with the production side for her eighth year at the Pride of Reading Awards.
Local multi-award winning Berzerk Productions have been making believe since 1994.
Helping young people believe in themselves and help empower them with the confidence to feel successful.
We are SO proud to have been supporting the Pride Of Reading Awards for the last five years.
Especially being an inaugural winner for the first ever awards, it has always been close to our hearts.
Every year it is so humbling to see such good news and heartwarming stories of the people of Reading.
Berzerk help on the production side of the awards day entertainment and with the social media.
Wishing the very best to all this year’s nominations, in a town Berzerk LOVES to be a part of.
Electric Hair – Official hairdresser
Electric has been hailed the UK’s most exciting hairdressing brand.
It is tipped to be one of the most important brands to watch within the industry. The Electric brand encompasses the Electric Studio and the award winning Electric Haircare Range.
Having worked within the hair industry for over 10 years, Amy, front of house manager, has a strong passion for the hair industry despite no longer cutting hair.
Her favourite part of her job is event organising and seeing the salon clients leaving elated with their new look.
Having begun his career with Electric in our Brighton salon, colour specialist, Sean is now an all-rounder with a L’Oreal Colour Degree and 15 years of experience under his belt.
Relocating to Reading, Sean’s creative flare and fun personality have seen him rapidly build a diverse and loyal client base.
Using his expertise technical knowledge Sean regularly spends his own time coaching other team members.
Keep up with all the nominations on our dedicated Pride of Reading page here .
Find out about all the categories and how to nominate here .
Don’t forget you can keep up to date with the latest news, sport and entertainment via the free getreading app.
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