All posts by Stepping Forward

Benefit Advice for Disabled People and Carers

The DLA/PIP service continues by phone for now. We know that lots of people are experiencing changed financial circumstances. If you are not sure if you may be entitled to support, eg for Carers Allowance or Universal Credit, contact us for a telephone appointment with our Benefits Adviser.

Email: and we will get back to you ASAP.


Clarification on NHS Guidance Re Access to Treatment During COVID-19 Pandemic

The attached NHS letter clarifies treatment guidelines for people with learning disabilities, autism and other diagnoses. 

There was some initial misinformation about access to treatment, which have now been clarified by NHS. The attached doc should be shared with clinicians on admission so there is no confusion; health workers are under huge amounts of pressure and making difficult decisions within the current context, with rapidly changing guidelines.

This document can clarify immediately that a diagnosis does not exclude a person from access to best practice treatment.  


Following government advice this week, we are continuing to support clients but are now arranging to do this on the phone. If you have an appointment with us we will be in touch to confirm the new arrangements. We are part of community initiatives to support community members during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone in your house has a disability and you need practical assistance, including specific items (or you are representing someone in this situation), please do not hesitate to reach out and we will do our very best to assist with our small team of volunteers.


Thank you for the Christmas donations!

Many of our wonderful supporters made a donation to Stepping Forward’s Disability Hub project over the Christmas period in lieu of buying a Christmas present. We are truly grateful for your support and commitment to this initiative. We are close to half way there and have until July 2020 to find the outstanding £70,000. If you have ways to lever support amongst your organisations and companies or want to do a challenge this year, we would love to hear from you. Email us at

Winter Ball raises funds for local disability organisations

MORE than £11,000 was raised for disability charities in Reading at our Fifth Winter Ball  at The Hilton on Saturday 16 November  – bringing the total raised from this annual event to more than £60,000!

The fundraising and networking ball for organisations working on disability issues in Reading involved a total of seven local charities: Autism Berkshire, Reading Mencap, Parenting Special Children, Green Health Thames Valley, The Engine Shed and the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, Berkshire Phab and Stepping Forward.

More information is in the Reading Chronicle. Contact us if you want to join in or sponsor us for next year 2020!!!

Image below shows Sam and Sanjay Seetanah enjoying a welcome glass of bubbly.


The Winter Ball is fast approaching!

Our Winter Ball 2019 is coming up fast and it is our 5th year of holding the event! Taking place on Saturday 16 November 2019, at The Hilton Reading, this unique fundraising and networking event for organisations working on disability issues in Reading involves Autism Berkshire, Parenting Special Children, Green Health Thames Valley, The Engine Shed and the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre – and us as the organisers Stepping Forward.

Guests can enjoy a welcome glass of bubbly, three course meal and entertainment provided by covers band Love2Groove.  An auction will take place on the night, alongside a raffle with £1,000 of John Lewis vouchers as the main prize.

Tickets are £45 from Stepping Forward, or from one of the other participating charities. Email for payment details.

All funds that Stepping Forward raise this year will go towards the creation of a Disability Hub in Reading.

The Winter Ball event came about because individually most local disability charities do not have the capacity to put on a large scale event such as a Ball. By coming together, with the generous support this year of the companies and Foundations listed below, we are able to hold an enjoyable event that raises substantial funds for organisations that are experiencing a severe shortage of resources.

Contact Us for DLA and PIP Support

Our DLA and PIP service is proving to be very popular as people of all ages come to us for advice and support in completing their forms. There is no charge for this service which is funded by a grant from Berkshire Community Foundation. Contact us for an appointment as soon as you have received your forms. If you have other questions related to the service please drop us a line at:

We will answer your enquiry/call you back as appropriate.   We strongly recommend that you seek support when completing the forms, particularly in the transition from DLA to PIP.

Plans for Disability Hub in Reading take shape

We have had a busy few weeks, attending local events such as the Woodley Carnival to raise funds and awareness, and welcoming local community groups and charities into the office. A local group has taken on some low-cost office space at the Hub for nine months and we are meeting some more groups this week.  We are very excited to see what happens when groups share ideas and energy in this way – do drop us a line if you would like to view the space in the daytime or the evening.

Our volunteer Sergio battles the wind at the Woodley Carnival…

If any local companies would like to invite our volunteer team into their workplace to sell raffle tickets and cake we would be very happy to do so.

Working Towards a Disability Hub!

The clock has started! We have moved into the building that we hope to transform into a Disability Hub for the Reading community. We have generously been given 12 months by our landlords to raise the sums required to buy the building!  We are grateful to them for allowing us this opportunity and look forward to working with local partners and supporters to raise this sum – creating a resource that will be part of the Reading voluntary sector community for the years ahead. Contact us if you would like to visit or use the building. We are offering hot-desking opportunities for individuals and organisations – as well as storage – whilst we raise the funds this year. Some parking is available. We are at 12A Southview Park, Marsack St, Reading RG4 5AF.

Reading Lions Supports Disability Awareness sessions in Schools

Huge thanks to Reading Lions for a donation towards our Disability Awareness work. If you are a Reading school, primary or secondary, please get in touch and book a free session for 2019.

Disability awareness is a neglected issue which receives little priority and few resources. However failure to invest in this area has multiple impacts on the rights of people with disabilities. In April 2017 the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities published its ‘list of issues’ for the UK and has asked the UK government to report on multiple issues of concern, including how it is addressing disability-related harassment and bullying of disabled children in schools and how the UK is tackling negative attitudes, in particular towards people with dementia or learning disabilities.