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.

Matt said:
“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.”


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