What comes to mind when somebody says the word ‘Berkshire’? Likely the first thing you’ll think of is the town of Windsor and Windsor Castle. Perhaps Legoland or maybe even large towns such as Reading and Maidenhead. But what if I tell you there is a vast number of generous supporters connected with local charities through the Berkshire Community Foundation. The work these charities do transforms not only the lives of those they work with, but also the community around them.

On 16th May 2019, over 80 guests gathered together at the beautiful Ascot Racecourse for Berkshire Community Foundation’s Celebrating Impact: Showcase Event, an event celebrating the achievements and developments of local charities and projects. The groups were invited because of their strong focus and impact on those in need or who are disadvantaged.

Beginning with canapes and drinks, the evening transitioned to a small awards ceremony introduced by BBC Radio Berkshire Sports Presenter Ady Williams, and Chris Dodson OBE DL, Chair of Trustees at BCF, starting with a video showing BCF’s highlights over the past year. Each award winner was introduced through a similar videos with interviews from staff/volunteers and those they have helped. The six awards and winners were:

Content Guru Sponsor Award  – Connecting Communities in Berkshire

David Brownlow Charitable Foundation Sponsor Award – Building for the Future

Ascot Racecourse Supports Sponsor Award – Aik Saath

Vital Signs Award – The Mustard Tree – Starting Point

Police and Crime Commissioner Award – Mock Trials

Mary Bayliss Award – Parents and Children Together

Lady Cathrine Stevenson DL presented the Mary Bayliss Award, which was named in honour and memory of Mary Bayliss, the president of BCF and former Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, who sadly passed in March 2019. The evening was brought to a close by Ady Williams and Chris Dodson.

It was an honour and privilege to attend BCF’s showcase event and to receive an award that celebrates the invaluable support and work from our staff, volunteers, supporters, and also our mentees.

It was a real privilege being invited to such a well put together and celebratory evening. Berkshire Community Foundation have been key in the success of Starting Point, not only in awarding grants but in their ongoing support and encouragement.

Sam Lloyd – Starting Point Manager

We look forward to working with BCF for many years to come.

For more information on the evening, please click on and follow the link to BCF’s own blog about the ceremony: http://www.berkshirecf.org/showcase2019

Starting Point Monthly Update

It’s been a busy two months at Starting Point since our last update. Check out the list below to see what activities we have taken part in.


11th – Planning meeting for the new Mentoring Hub. – Due to open in autumn this year we are set to have a newly renovated Mentoring Hub at our central offices.

13th – 27th – Weekly Social Groups designed for Starting Point young people to grow in confidence, learn new skills, meet peers and try something new. – This was run in partnership with St Laurence.

19th – 20th – Held interviews for our new Mentoring Lead – This is to meet the significant growth of the project enabling us to mentor more young people. 

25th 26th and 27th– Transition Mentoring at UTC, Cranbury College and Reading Girls School. – https://startingpoint.org.uk/transition-mentoring


2nd – Partnership Meeting with the leaders of Reading Family Church on of the co-founders and long term supporters of Starting Point. http://www.readingfamilychurch.org.uk

3rd – Social Group away day at Path Hill. – Making campfires, cooking campfire pizza. https://www.pathhill.com/index.php/home

10th – Talk at the local VISA offices. A chance to share about the impact Starting Point has the lives of young people. 

11th – Young Person and the Project Manager did a day’s volunteering together at a local community garden. This was with TVC (The conservation volunteers) www.tcv.org.uk

15th – Keren Newnham, our new Mentoring Lead started. Find out more about Keren https://startingpoint.org.uk/meet-the-team/

26th – Mock Interviews – We held mock interviews for 2 young people. This was an opportunity for them to develop their interview skills and grow in confidence. The feedback from these interviews is then worked on with their mentor.

Thank you to all involved in the activities above.

We’ll be back with another update in July, so stay tuned!

Starting Point Monthly Update – January/February

It’s time for our monthly update. This time is a double update, detailing what Starting Point was doing over the months of January and February.

Activities include:


3rd – Transition Mentoring at Reading Girls School

6th – Transition Mentoring at UTC.

22nd – Attended a ‘Brighter Futures for Children’ voluntary sector market place. A fantastic opportunity that has led to an increase in referrals.

23rd – Funding Bid Accepted – Allowing us to scale up as a project in a 3 year to refine, grow and replicate the project. Including hiring a new team member.

26th – Planning Meeting for our 2019 Social groups. – First one to start on the 13th March.

28th – A Mustard Tree get together – A chance to catch up with the other projects and prepare for the New Year.


1st, 7th and 21st – 4 new Match Meeting – matching young people to their new mentors in our Traffic Light Mentoring Programme.

11th – Red Balloon – Mentoring presentation for 3 students taking part in our Transition Mentoring.

14th – Assisted 2 young people to attend the London Irish Hitz Programme.

18th – Started advertising for the new role – Mentoring Lead.

25th – Young person and mentor photo shoot – This is for our new brochure.

25th – Young person feedback meeting – We want to tailor our project to the young people we support, giving a voice to local young people.

26th – Mentor Supervision – An opportunity for our mentors to learn from each other in their mentoring.

Thank you to all involved in the activities above. Look forward to our March update next month and all future blogs over the coming weeks.

Starting Point Yearly Update 2018/2019

2018 was one of our best years yet at Starting Point. Through the help of our brilliant volunteers and generous supporters, we achieved great things. These include:

  • Mentoring 51 new young people, 26 of whom have moved into education, employment, or training.

Looking ahead to 2019, Starting Point’s goals include:

  • Mentoring 60+ young people
  • Recruiting more volunteers
  • Setting up a ground floor hub to be used by mentees and mentors for mentoring.
  • Establishing the social groups and Transition Mentoring as regular programmes

We would like to thank everyone for their contributions to making 2018 a very successful year for Starting Point. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Roll on 2019!!!

Starting Point Monthly Update – November

The end of November has arrived and that means another monthly update for our blog readers.

We are seeing a great response to our ongoing social media activity, including our new Instagram page,where we will be posting both videos and pictures. Our weekly blogs are also gaining traction, with both inside and outside supporters loving them.

We would like to send a very special thank you to an anonymous donor who, because of our Berkshire Community Foundation blog, donated £5000 to Starting Point.

Starting Point’s activities this month include:

6th – Attended a Reading College NEET event and are mentoring 5 more young people as a direct result.

8th – Transition Mentoring at UTC – 5 young people in their final year of Education being mentored into their next step.

15th – Attended a group interview at Ikea with 3 young people. –An interview process designed to support those with Learning Disabilities, Learning Difficulties and Mental Health struggles.

2nd – 23rd – Filming Young People’s stories in preparation for a funding bid that would allow us to mentor more young people in Reading and wider.

26th – Planning Meeting for our 2019 Social groups. – First one to start in February.

27th – Transition Mentoring at Reading Girls School – 4 students in Year 11 Education being mentored in growing in confidence and looking at options for their future.

30th – Starting Point steering group meeting looking at the exciting plans for the project in 2019

As our next update blog won’t be until after Christmas, Starting Point would like to wish you and your families a very merry Christmas.

Our blogs for December will include mentees doing volunteering, and the Mentoring of Albus Dumbledore.

Starting Point Monthly Update – October

The end of the month has arrived! And what a month we’ve had here at Starting Point.

We launched our new website, pumped out new social media activity almost every day, and have had great feedback not only from our followers, but also from our supporters. In fact, we gained five new followers in our first week! Our blogs are getting great responses too, especially Mentoring in Films and it’s follow up interactive tweet!

Below is a list of activities Starting Point has been involved in throughout October:

1st – Launch of new website, weekly blogs, and social media posts

4th – Transition Mentoring Launch at UTC. 8 young people in their final year are to be mentored

8th – Attended the Berkshire Community Foundation Symposium. A great event for meeting different projects and charities across Berkshire.

12th – Great conversation with one of the partners as Grant Thornton. A local business who continually support us in the work we do. Grant Thornton created the link with UTC.

15th – Transition Mentoring Presentation at Cranbury College NTA. We worked with Cranbury Colleges students last academic year and look to continue our great relationship.

12th – 26th – Met up with 4 new volunteers who are to be trained as mentors in early December.

30th – Starting Point steering group meeting looking at the exciting plans for the project in 2019.

Look forward to November where our blogs will include Meet a Mentor, and the new The Mentoring Of series starting with Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter.

Thank you to everyone who has made this month such a success and here’s to another!

New Website!


No, not the ice cream van.

Our new website is here and has been redesigned with the help of our amazing volunteers to give you Starting Point! Here we will celebrate the work of our volunteers and share stories from across our community.

We hope these changes will raise awareness to Starting Point and the transforming impact mentoring has on the lives of local young people.

Over the next couple of months we will have an increased presence on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook with news about us and those who support us.

Keep your eyes peeled for regular blogs that are on opportunity to:

  • Tell the stories of our young people.
  • Celebrate the work of our volunteer mentors
  • Introduce key supporters of Starting Point in our community
  • Give updates of news and events

In the meantime, why not get to know our project manager?

Sam – Project Manager

Or you could go and find that ice cream van. Either way, we’re sure you will not be disappointed.