MATT SUPPORTS READING'S UKRAINIANS AT THE GRAND-REOPENING OF THEIR COMMUNITY CENTRE
READING EAST MP Matt Rodda was honoured to attend the grand re-opening of their Community Centre at Sidmouth Street, Reading, on Saturday 2 September.
Built in 1804 from flint remains of the Reading Abbey, the Community Centre had become in need of a complete renovation due to the wear and tear over the years. A substantive programme of works included many major repairs to the building in addition to a complete refurbishment of the lower and ground floors, halls and the upper floors which are now student accommodation. The Community Centre is very much a local hub of activity, and the halls are used for many purposes including local activity groups such as folk dancing, gaming societies and the Reading Branch of the RAF Veterans.
A visit from Her Excellency Ambassador Natalia Galibarenko, Councillor Rose Williams the Mayor of Reading, and other community dignitaries formalised the opening which included a religious ceremony by the Priest who blessed the building with Holy Water. Her Excellency the Ambassador was invited to share in the loaf of woven bread – the Korovai– which was presented to her on a traditional embroidered rushnik. The bread was dipped in salt and offered to the Ambassador, and formed part of the Ukrainian custom when a person of great importance visits. A reception then took place for dignitaries which
included folk singing, music and prayers.
“I was delighted and honoured to attend the re-opening of the Ukrainian Community Centre; communities such as these are vital to the wonderfully diverse society we have here in Reading, and I wish them every success in their newly refurbished local hub.”