Oxford Road Community Call Out - Reading's High Street Heritage Action Zone

Are you a community group or organisation based in the Oxford Road area?

Would you like to be involved in a cultural project to celebrate the history and diverse cultures of the Oxford Road?  

Do you want to be involved in creating cultural activities that are meaningful and relevant to your members/participants/the people you work with/the people you support/ the local community? 

Do you have an idea for a creative project to explore and share local history and celebrate the cultural identity of the communities along the Oxford Road and is there a local artist that you would like to work with on this?  Or maybe you have an idea but and you would like support to find an artist or creative practitioner to work with you on your idea? 

Is there an area/issue that is important to your group that you would like to address like isolated older people, giving young people the chance to contribute to their community, connecting people across the generations that a cultural project could help you start to address?

Do you offer a service to the Oxford Road community and would you like to enhance this offer by providing the opportunity to take part in creative activities alongside your service?

Or maybe the above questions have sparked an interest, but you have no idea where to start and you would like to find out more? 


The project

Reading Borough Council is looking to work with groups, organisations and communities from the Oxford Road area to discover creative opportunities and develop new projects with local people that celebrates the history and diverse cultures of the area.

Reading's High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme supports communities to co-create new work with artists and creative practitioners that is relevant, authentic and genuinely participatory for people living in the 3 action zone areas which Oxford Road is one. 

High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) is a government-sponsored programme to transform high streets through the power of heritage.  HSHAZ scheme seeks to deliver physical improvements and cultural and community activities to regenerate historic high streets or town centers.  Reading has identified the retail part of three conservation areas; Castle Hill/Russell Street/Oxford Road, St Mary’s Butts/Castle Street, and Market Place/London Street. The aim is to make these high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant - as places for people to live, work and spend time.  More information of the HSHAZ Programme can be found at: www.reading.gov.uk/hshaz

What is important to us is that local communities are involved in the design and delivery of the HSHAZ Cultural Programme projects, and that the programme reaches people who not normally have this kind of creative opportunity.

Your project needs to offer local community members the opportunity to take part in creative and cultural activities together that:

  • are inspired by the history of the area and celebrates the diverse cultures of the Oxford Road
  • are co-created with them involving them in the design and delivery of the activities
  • enables them to work with an artist or creative practitioner to co-create work that is meaningful and relevant to them and the local community. 

Our definition of creative and cultural activities is broad it can be music, photography, singing, drama, spoken word, creative writing, dance and movement, painting, craft, ceramics, sculpture, film or a mixture of two creative and cultural activities. 

How can Reading High Street Heritage Action Zone support you:

  • We can provide a small grant of up to £4,000 to set up and run your creative project idea with the members of your group and/or your local community
  • We can offer support to help community groups and organisations to develop their skills and confidence in developing creative and cultural activities including developing your project idea and getting you project up and running.  This support will be provided by Culture Mix Arts a respected Reading based cultural organisation. 
  • If applicable, we can link you with an artist or creative practitioner to work with on your project
  • We can link you with other community groups or organisations that are working on the programme or who are developing creative and cultural opportunities for communities in Reading.   


Application Process

Stage 1 – Expression of Interest

We have tried to make the process as accessible as possible, so there are two ways to apply at this stage: by downloading and completing the Expression of Interest Form on this page in writing, or by sending us a short video or audio recording of your answers to the questions on the form (no longer than 4 mins). 

Please send you completed form or video or audio recording to HSHAZ@reading.gov.uk by 5pm on Friday 10th December 2021.

Expressions of Interest will be marked against the following selection criteria:

  • The project idea is clear and fits with the above brief
  • There is a clear understanding of who it is the project will reach/engage  
  • If the applicant gives a named artist/creative practitioner who the group wish to work with how embedded is the artist/creative practitioner in the community on the Oxford Road. 

Stage 2 – Project Application

Those community groups or organisations who are successful at the Expression of Interest stage will receive support from Culture Mix, a respected Reading based cultural organisation, to complete the second stage application.  This stage will require applicants to develop their project idea further and submitting a more detailed project application including:

  • Clear description of the project including the aim and objectives
  • Project schedule
  • Project budget. 

Further details about what is required for a Stage 2 application and how applications will be assessed will be shared with successful Expression of Interest applicants when they are invited to apply for stage 2. 

Key Dates

  • November 2021 – Call Out Opens
  • December 10th 5pm  – deadline date for submitting Expression of Interest Form
  • Week of 13th December - HSHAZ Cultural Programme Selection Panel meets to review submissions. Successful applicants will be informed and invited to undertake Stage 2 in the week of 20th December.
  • January 2021 – February 2022 – Support available from Culture Mix Arts and the Reading HSHAZ Community Engagement and Cultural Officer for community groups and organisations applying to Stage 2
  • February 2022 – Deadline date for submitting Project Application
  • March 2022 – HSHAZ Cultural Programme Selection Panel meets to select projects and award funding
  • March 2022- Inception meeting  with HSHAZ project team
  • April 2022 - Project planning and preparation
  • May 2022 onwards – Project delivery starts.  

Please note: The HSHAZ Cultural Programme Selection Panel will comprise of Reading Borough Council Officers, a member of the Reading Cultural Consortium, representatives from the Oxford Road community and a representative from a local arts organisation. 

For more information and to start a conversation about your creative idea/s please call Hannah on 07816118877 or email her on HSHAZ@reading.gov.uk