Abbey Ward Community Plan

Community First Plan: Reading – Abbey Ward


Abbey Ward

The resident population of Abbey is 8,230; approximately 54% of the population is male, 46% female. 5.8% of the population of Reading live in Abbey, a very high proportion of the population of Abbey is aged between 20 and 34.  There are 4,200 households in Abbey.  Abbey also has a relatively low number of pensioner households (15.1%) ranking 10th out of all the wards in Reading, however out of the total pensioner households in Abbey the vast majority are pensioners living alone (12.1%).  Therefore Abbey ward has a very high proportion of one-person households (46.2%) compared to 30.1% of all households in Reading and 30% in England & Wales.  Abbey ranks third out of all wards in Reading for the proportion of the population that is non-white, 8.8% of the population of Abbey is from an Asian or Asian British ethnic group compared to just 5.2% across Reading. Additionally, 6.3% of the total population of Abbey is from a Black or Black British ethnic group compared with just 4.1% of the total population of Reading.  Abbey ward has a comparatively low proportion of households who own their house, 45.6%, compared to 66.7% of households in Reading. 38.2% households live in privately rented accommodation, compared to just 17.6% of all Reading households.  Abbey ward has the highest proportion of households that are overcrowded out of all the wards in Reading, 20.8% of households compared to 11% across Reading.

In order to understand the needs of the residents in Abbey ward, we conducted an online survey, which was distributed through local newsletters, however a greater response was received through consultations with local groups in the area.  These identified that resident priorities for their local area are:

  • Improve the local environment
  • Build community spirit
  • An active and involved community
  • Build friendships with neighbours
  • An improvement in the standards of services provided
  • Residential and Housing issues
  • Anti-social behviour particularly tackling issues of drug taking
  • Improvements in neighbourhood policing

Therefore The Abbey Ward Panel have decided that the priorities for the coming years should be broad and encompassing in order to capture the needs identified by local groups.  These are as follows:

  • Improve the local environment
  • Build community cohesion
  • Tackle anti-social behaviour

So far Community First Projects in the Abbey Ward have involved 220 volunteer hours.  These skills have included:

  • Managing local events
  • Stewarding
  • Local history
  • Refurbishment

For upcoming Community First Projects volunteers will be providing the following skills to the local community:

  • Teaching English
  • Transport
  • Clean-up of the local area
  • Gardening
  • Decorating
  • Local event planning and organizing

The projects have also attracted a number of in-kind resources from local businesses, groups and individuals including:

  • Meeting space
  • Tables and chairs for events

The current projects supported by the Abbey Ward Panel are:

  1. Refurbishment of the Reading Ukrainian Centre
  2. Support for the Rahab Project, aimed at reducing prostitution in the area
  3. The development of a new community association aimed at improving the Baker Street area
  4. The Gurkha Community English classes and cohesion activities
  5. East Reading Festival

This plan is designed to be a live/dynamic document that evolves with the need of our local community and in order to ensure that this document stays in touch with what local people want the Panel have committed to consulting with local groups and involving them in the Panel.


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