We’re recruiting

The Engage Wellbeing Programmer Manager is a part-time position of 30 hours per week, with a salary of £25,769 – £28,451 FTE (depending on experience). Initially a one-year contract with a view to this extending, depending on funding. This is a great opportunity for a strategic and creative individual to grow and develop support, by building partnerships across the town. The new Engage Wellbeing Programme Manager will embed the values of The Mustard Tree into the programme. Therefore, the successful candidate will need to be an excellent communicator, who has experience of managing teams of either volunteers or paid staff and a proven track record supporting people who are experiencing issues with emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

A job description can be downloaded here:

The closing date for applications is midnight Monday 8th February 2021. Anyone wishing to apply for the role should send a CV and covering letter detailing why they are suitable to the Engage Manager sue.winyard@themustardtree.org or call her on 07443 487191 for further information. Please note that applicants without a covering letter will not be considered for the role.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th February 2021.

Christmas 2020

Many of our volunteers will be continuing to make calls and keep in touch over Christmas, but our office will be closed until 4th January. If you would like some support over the Christmas period then you can contact the following:

  • The One Reading Community Hub is open 9-1 on working days (so closed bank holidays). Call 0808 189 4325 or click here for the website.
  • NHS First Responders are available from 8am to 8pm and can help with shopping and essential items. Call 0808 196 3646 or click here for the website

Over the Christmas period the following places will be providing food:

  • CIRDIC (St Saviours Church Hall, Berkeley Avenue, RG1 6JT) Take away hot meals Mon, Tue and Friday except Christmas Day.  But opening Thursday between 1 and 2 to collect Christmas Dinner.
  • Providence Chapel (103 Oxford Road, RG1 7UD) Take away hot meals every Monday including the 28th
  • New Beginnings (Queens Arms, Great Knollys Street, RG1 7HL) Hot meals will be provided on Christmas Day at lunchtime for collection but you must book in advance.  Click here for more information
  • Weller Centre (110 Amersham Road, RG4 5NA) Closing afternoon on Christmas eve but will be open between Christmas and New Year (shorter hours).  Click here for more information
  • Whitley Community Development Association (252-260 Northumberland Avenue, RG2 7QA) Will have a surplus table available during certain hours. Click here for more information
  • Wycliffe (233 Kings Road, RG1 4LS) Foodshare collection.  Opening times 24th December, 29th December, 31st December, 5th January – Doors Open at 8pm

The Mustard Tree team hope you have a happy Christmas and New Year. See you in 2021!

Volunteering with Engage Befriending

Our Engage Befriending team have been busy making calls to people who would otherwise be isolated or lonely. This has been an essential lifeline to many and its only been possible because people have stepped forwards to volunteer.

In this video you can hear one of our amazing volunteers describing the benefits of befriending. Click here to watch

If you would like to get involved visit our website for details about becoming a befriender .

We are Recruiting

We have two new roles within our growing Starting Point project.

The Centre Manager will manage and develop Starting Point Reading’s operations. Promoting the project’s values and objectives, within The Mustard Tree’s ethos and vision. It is a full time position with an annual salary of between £28,170 – £33,006 (depending on experience). We are looking for an excellent communicator with experience in leading and inspiring a team as they deliver vital support for young people in Reading.  This varied and exciting role will suit someone with management experience, skilled in developing local partnerships, strategic in project development and planning and who thrives in establishing and growing effective initiatives that enable transformation in the lives of young people.

The Aware Programme Manager role is a great opportunity for an individual who is passionate about supporting young people who are ‘hardest to reach’ and at risk of/involved in exploitation, crime, and violence. Managing, delivering and developing the Starting Point Aware programme in accordance with the project’s values and objectives and within The Mustard Tree’s ethos and vision. This is a full-time position, which includes some out of office hours and evening work. We are looking for someone with programme management or co-ordination experience to oversee young person referrals; volunteer support and supervision; co-ordination of a hospital navigation scheme; as well as mentoring a caseload of young people directly. This role has clear pathways for progression in management as the project continues to grow.

Click Here for more information and to apply. The closing date is 6th December

Join our team!

We are recruiting an Engage Wellbeing Programme Manager.

This is a new and exciting programme with great potential for a strategic and creative individual to grow and develop support, by building partnerships across the town. Do you have a desire to reach the vulnerable and marginalised? Passion and experience in supporting people to improve their mental health and wellbeing? We will provide a supportive environment that will empower you to make a difference!

Click here to visit the Charityjob website for more information.

The closing date for applications is Monday 14th September

Covid-19 Response Appeal

The Mustard Tree – Covid-19 Urgent Response Appeal

We at the Mustard Tree recognise the need for local communities to stand together and support one another at this time. As a result, we have chosen to join with other statutory and voluntary organisations in the One Reading Community Hub. This hub has been created by Reading Borough Council to coordinate services for Reading residents needing extra support during the current Coronavirus outbreak.

We are using our years of local knowledge, existing projects and partnerships and our network of volunteers to help meet the unique needs of this international crisis on a local level. Our existing focus on unmet needs and vulnerable people facing issues surrounding loneliness and isolation, have meant that we are well placed to provide a local response across Reading. Our small infrastructure and the flexibility of our staff team have allowed us to be proactive and innovative in unexpected circumstances. We are continuing to support our existing service users, while finding new ways to offer expanded support to those who need it most.

In common with many small local charities, our biggest challenge is finding the financial and human resources to meet the expanding need as this crisis unfolds. We operate on limited resources and with minimal contingencies in our day to day provision. Increased local need has led to a requirement for us to increase our capacity to offer creative community-based solutions in unprecedented times. We recognise that many are facing financial challenges at the moment, but we would ask you to consider donating to the Mustard Tree Covid-19 Urgent Response Appeal. All donations will go to providing local support for vulnerable people across our town. A donation in any amount will make a positive difference.

Our Response

As you can imagine, our staff are facing challenging personal circumstances and yet through their dedication, hard work and flexibility we are pleased to be able to say that we are already offering the following services via our projects:

Engage Befriending:

Our well-respected befriending service for lonely and isolated older people has risen to the challenge. They are now offering a telephone befriending service for vulnerable over 55s focussing especially on those who are self-isolating alone. Since the current government restrictions came into effect, Engage Befriending has recruited 80 new volunteers. The demand for this service keeps growing, and as a result there is a need to increase service capacity quickly. Volunteer applications need to be processed and new volunteers need to be vetted, trained and matched with service users. Equally new referrals also need to be assessed and matched with an appropriate befriender. Therefore, we need to increase staffing hours for the existing team. As people’s time in isolations continues, we anticipate the need for this service will continue to grow. A donation to the Mustard Tree Covid-19 Urgent Response Appeal in any amount, will help us to provide this increased capacity. It will ensure a minimum of a 20 minute phone call twice a week each to check on the health and wellbeing of older people in our town.

Starting Point:

Our ever expanding and endlessly creative mentoring project for young people not in education employment or training, continues to engage with its clients. The Starting Point team have worked hard to move their projects and services online. Starting Point continues to offer the following services:

Remote Mentoring – Mentoring over video chat, phone call or email for anyone aged 11-19 who is in education or aged 15-25 who is not in education, employment or training. – https://startingpoint.org.uk/news/remote-mentoring

Social Media Challenges – Starting Point Instagram run social challenges – combating social isolation, reducing boredom, teaching new skills and connecting the community. https://startingpoint.org.uk/news/social-media-challenges/ Follow: @statingpointreading  on Instagram.

Action Media Training  – Action Media is a young person led production company that will be offering online training and setting tasks around camera work, digital media and marketing. –  https://startingpoint.org.uk/news/action-media-training/  Follow: @actionmedia on Instagram

 A significant proportion of Starting Point mentees have additional needs due to learning difficulties and poor mental health. Many do not cope well with changes in routine and often struggle with anxiety, lack of confidence and depression. Sadly, Starting Point has mentees for whom home is not really a safe place to take shelter. These factors lead to extra difficulties for already vulnerable young people in such challenging times. It is therefore, of the utmost importance that Starting Point continue to offer support to young people in as many ways as possible.A donation in any amount to the Mustard Tree Covid-19 Urgent Response Appeal, will help to ensure that vulnerable young people across our town continue to receive mentoring support.


Due to the client group Rahab supports, and the nature of the project’s activities, this project has been hit hardest by the current restrictions. We have worked in partnership with our voluntary sector and council partners, to ensure our clients were provided with suitable accommodation to stay in.  Rahab has now had to pause its services. This was not an easy decision, but under the current circumstances it was simply not possible to offer either the evening outreaches, or the daytime support. We are continuing to work hard to ensure that the Rahab project will be able to get up and running again as soon as it is safe to do so. A donation in any amount to the Mustard Tree Covid-19 Urgent Response Appeal will help ensure Rahab is able to hit the ground running in future.

New Opportunities to Meet Local Needs

We are in the process of expanding our telephone befriending support to people under 55.  This is a need that has emerged from the requests coming through the Community Hub.  We hope to be able to offer this service next week.

Our CEO is working with The One Reading Community Hub to ensure all vulnerable people in isolation can be supported.   She is currently partnering with RVA and local churches to provide a shopping service, by helping to develop a hub infrastructure using teams who are properly vetted and checked.  This minimises the risk of vulnerable people being victims of exploitation.  The clear referral networks will help ensure the response can be quick, and it also joins people with the full range of support services across the town.

Please help us provide this support by donating what you can through our local giving page. Donate Now

We continue to be very grateful to all those who are volunteering to help and supporting us in prayer. Thank you for helping us to help our local community

How can I help?

The Mustard Tree are working closely with our partners across the community, voluntary and statutory sector to ensure that everyone who needs care and support receives it. We are encouraging anyone available to help to either contact an existing charity directly (Readifood, CIRDIC and CCA are all urgently needing volunteers), or to offer support through Reading Voluntary Action (RVA).

RVA are coordinating volunteers across the sectors, and each organisation is able to request the people that they need. By working together we can make sure those most needing help can be supported. It avoids unnecessary duplication of services and ensures that safeguarding procedures are followed. Click here to visit the RVA website.

Please continue to reach out to your neighbours and any isolated people you know! We also want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our amazing volunteers

If you would like more information on each project please visit their websites, or keep in touch through our Facebook page.

With thanks from The Mustard Tree Team.

Celebration Event

We celebrated the launch of our new client hub on Thursday 6th February.  It was fantastic to see so many people there who have the same passion to see transformation in our town.  It was a wonderful opportunity to share stories of changed lives and celebrate all the ways we are working together to provide support across the town.

The Mustard Tree’s diverse projects all address unmet social needs, and reach out to people who would otherwise be isolated and face barriers in accessing support.  Now we have more space we will be able to continue to grow to meet the demands of the increasing number of people we are supporting.  In addition, we can host new activities  If you have an idea for how we can be supporting people in our community do get in touch.  We would also love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved and help make a difference!

To find out how you can get involved please click here.   You can also sign up for latest news by emailing mike.atkinson@themustardtree.org

Thank you to everyone who came to support us and helped make it a wonderful event.

Invitation to our celebration

You are invited to join the staff of the Mustard Tree in celebrating the launch of our new project hub for Reading

The event takes place on Thursday 6th February. There are two opportunities to join us that day,

In the afternoon between 3pm and 5pm

or, in the evening between 7pm and 9pm

At 90 London Street, Reading

Light refreshments will be provided so please RSVP by email to mike.atkinson@themustardtree.org

As valued friends and supporters we would like to host you for a small celebration in our newly expanded facilities. Our launch event will include:

– Tours of the building

– An opportunity to meet the staff

– A chance to hear about the work of our current projects

– An opportunity to learn about our vision for the future

We hope you can join us!