#UniForReading: Vice-Chancellor announced as new patron of homeless charity07 August 2020
University of Reading Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort, has become a new patron for Reading’s leading homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad.
A longstanding supporter of the charity, Professor Van de Noort will join the charity’s roster of patrons – which includes Matt Allwright, Danyl Johnson, the Earl and Countess of Canarvon and Sir John Madejski - to increase Launchpad’s profile and spread good news about the work the charity does to prevent homelessness in Reading.
Launchpad was founded as a soup kitchen in 1979 by students at the University of Reading. The charity now helps vulnerable people in the town tackle their housing-related problems, obtain and sustain a long-term home and lead full and independent lives.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Van De Noort, said:
“The University of Reading has played an important role in the formation of Launchpad and so I’m delighted to continue the close links between our organisations in the role of Patron.
“The role of universities in civic life is more crucial than ever, through our research, our partnership with local communities and businesses, and through the many ways that our staff and students contribute to Reading. My role at Launchpad is just a small part of a greater connection between the University and the town, making the University not just of Reading, but for Reading too.”
Big sleep out
Professor Van de Noort’s first event as patron will be an adaptation of the charity’s much-loved annual fundraising event, the Big Sleep Out – which is being hosted virtually this year on World Homeless Day, Saturday 10 October. The Big Sleep Out at home will see participants take on the challenge of swapping a comfortable bed for a sleeping bag in their garden – all to help raise £25,000 so the charity can continue its vital work ensuring vulnerable people don’t lose their homes.
Kirsti Wilson, head of marketing and fundraising at Launchpad, said: “Launchpad was founded as a soup kitchen in 1979 by students at the University of Reading and we are thrilled to welcome the institution’s Vice-Chancellor to the charity as a patron, more than 40 years later. Robert himself has supported the charity for a number of years with regular donations and by taking part in our fundraising events, and his great passion for the community of Reading and our cause is truly inspirational. It will be a real honour to work closely with him to prevent homelessness in Reading - and we are delighted he has already pledged to brave the outdoors in his garden for the Big Sleep Out at home in October!”
Booking is now open for the Big Sleep Out at home and tickets are priced at £15 per person or £40 for a group of four. Find out more about Big Sleep Out at home and book your place by visiting: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout
The University of Reading is proud to be part of the town of Reading and makes a valuable contribution to the local area. We work closely with local community groups and organisations to support the wider objectives of the town.
Find out more about the ways that the University works in partnership with Reading organisations here and businesses here, and the economic and social contribution that the University makes to the Thames Valley region here.
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