Reading Speakers’ Corner popped up again on June 14. The idea behind the event is to give everyone the chance to express their thoughts and debate in public. It took place in two locations, starting out at 10-30am at the Play Café in Palmer Park and moving on to Market Place in Reading town centre where rain stopped play after a short time.
The topic of discussion was ‘why Reading matters and what matters to Reading,’ with heckling being encouraged.
Speakers at Palmer Park concentrated on what they loved about the area. Stewart Johnston of The Warehouse, Cumberland Road said “I love seeing the Blade and gasometers and knowing I’m home.”
Councillor Rob White spoke about the people, history and environment of Reading “Get involved in local organisations,” he encouraged “and make it even better.”
Play Café manager Hazel Bryce said “I’ve been a single mum and I know that places like the Play Café really help parents.”
The formal launch of Speakers’ Corner took place at 1pm in the Market Place with Councillor Tony Page giving the opening speech. He was keen to let us all know how brilliant Reading is and how it is constantly improving. “I want to make sure everyone goes with us and no-one gets left behind.” he said.
Proceedings became a little more controversial with Nick Bradbury speculated that “Estate agents are everywhere. They try to tell us they are passionate about property but really they are only passionate about money.”
Speakers’ Corners will be found in more places as the idea spreads and community organisations take their turn to host an event. “We expect Speakers’ Corner to come to East Reading quarterly,” said Mark Walker who hosted the event at the Play Café.
If you would like to use your freedom of speech to let Reading know about something that you’re passionate about, contact Reading Speakers’ Corner at speakerscornerreading.org/about/contact-us and if you don’t want to speak yourself then come along and barrack.
You can find out more about Reading Speakers’ Corner here speakerscornerreading.org
Pictures: Vivienne Johnson