Therapy Dogs at Brookfields School

This March saw the John Sykes Foundation’s inaugural Acts of Kindness month, an initiative to celebrate the selfless acts performed quietly by the great people of Reading, and to generally spread a little happiness. Last week, the final gift was presented to Brookfields School, in the form of a visit from Bali, a Pets As Therapy dog, and his handler, Iona.

A class of students from Brookfields School, who require that extra additional care, were nominated by a colleague. She stated that the class is staffed by the most amazing ladies who show so much love, fun and care to the children who unfortunately do not get out as much as other classes at the school in Tilehurst.

Sian McCoubrey, a Volunteer of the Foundation, commented, “Bali’s visit was overwhelmingly successful and made a huge difference to the children, who thoroughly enjoyed their contact with him, touching his fur and throwing toys for him to fetch. Bali interacted with the class beautifully and there were many smiling faces, children and adults alike! In fact, the visit was so successful that the John Sykes Foundation are working with Pets As Therapy and Brookfields School, to bring Bali, or one of the other Therapy Dogs, to the school on a monthly basis. We would very much like to thank Bali and Iona for their visit and making so many people happy.”

The John Sykes Foundation is here for the people of Reading, where no one else can help. If you, or someone you know, need our support, please get in touch. Applying for a grant is easy, for more information please visit the How We Can Help section.

Acts of Kindness 2019

This March, the John Sykes Foundation announced their inaugural Acts of Kindness month. This is an initiative to celebrate the great acts performed quietly and selflessly by the great people of Reading, and to generally spread a little happiness.

Many nominations were received and touching stories shared. We are happy to say that every valid nomination made, received an award, which were presented with the help of local celebrity Danyl Johnson. Danyl commented “It’s so important we highlight people and with the John Sykes Foundation – Act of Kindness Award, it is a great way to show that people get recognised for the hard work they do day to day. Without these people making a difference, a lot of people who need help wouldn’t be the same without them. Even better when they think they don’t deserve it, which makes them deserve it even move. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re a star”

Nominations were diverse, but all equally heart warming, for example:

“Thank you so much for doing this, Jason was thrilled with the tickets” – Yvonne Thrower

Jason Thrower, a 19 year old Reading University Student was nominated by his Mum for the overwhelming support he gives his family, helping to care for his younger brother who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome, ASD, ODD and anxiety disorder. Alongside this and his studies, Jason has a regular Sunday job and often volunteers and raises funds for his brother’s special needs school, Addington in Woodley. Jason was presented with a pair of tickets to the West End Show, School of Rock.

“The Staff were thrilled with the nomination and the lovely gifts they received” – Brandon Mills, Head Teacher of Brookfields School

A class of students and staff from Brookfields school, who require that extra additional care, were nominated by a colleague. She stated that the class is staffed by the most amazing ladies that show so much love, fun and care to the children who unfortunately do not get out as much as other classes at the school in Tilehurst. The 8 staff were each presented with a gift box from Lush and the children are looking forward to their forthcoming visit by a therapy dog.

“Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughtfulness, it really has given them both a boost ready to fight the next round.” – Samantha, who nominated her colleagues

Tracy Watkins from Southcote was nominated by a colleague at the MS Therapy Centre in Reading. Alongside her job of supporting people newly diagnosed with MS, in her free time Tracy has started training in the Church to be a preacher, in order to support even more people. She also actively volunteers and raises funds for the Church. Tracy was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

“The girl with a big heart who has endured so much herself, a true gem and diamond of a girl!” – Jo-Anna Dem

11 year old Sofiyah Dem from Coley was gifted with vouchers for her favourite, Red Kangaroo. Despite having 2 brothers with disabilities, Sofiyah goes out of her way to help look after younger children at Sunday school and holiday club, and always has a smile on her face.

“Claire is very supportive of my son who has ASD and often uses things he is interested in in News Assembly to help him join in and enjoy, she is very kind and helpful”.

Clare Budd, Deputy Head and SENCO at Coley Primary School, received a bouquet of flowers having been nominated by a grateful Mum, whose Son she goes above and beyond to encourage and inspire, helping him to manage his autism.

“Thank you for the spectacular gift of flowers and the delightful visit by Danyl and Sian. To have been considered for such an award is something by which I feel most honoured” – Margaret Horne

Margaret Horne from Tilehurst was nominated by her friend, for the kindness she shows every day “Margaret is a very happy, lovely lady. She always has a kindly greeting for local people she meets when out and about, and she is actively involved in acts of hospitality and kindness to anyone in need of some tender loving care. She is generous with her time and very willing to help wherever she can, she is simply an amazing lady.” Margaret was delighted to receive her bouquet of flowers.

Annabelle Sykes, Trustee of the John Sykes Foundation, commented “It is wonderful to see such a happy day with so many happy faces. We hope that the Act of Kindness awards will inspire others to smile, love and do what they can for others”

The John Sykes Foundation would like to thank our friends whose Acts of Kindness contributed to the day: Danyl Johnson, Cherubs Floral Design, Lush, Red Kangaroo, Argos and Must Wear Designs.

The John Sykes Foundation is here for the people of Reading, where no one else can help. If you, or someone you know, need our support, please get in touch. Applying for a grant is easy, for more information please visit

John Sykes Foundation – Act of Kindness Month

We at the John Sykes Foundation would like to spread a little happiness in March, and how better to do that than with an Act of Kindness.

Do you know anyone who deserves a good turn? This could be someone who has, or consistently does, go out of their way to help or inspire others, a young person who goes above and beyond to help with a difficult situation at home, or just somebody who has had a really bad time of it recently and could do with cheering up. If so we would like to hear from you.

The John Sykes Foundation is launching its Act of Kindness Month this March. We know there are many wonderful, unrecognised people across Reading who selflessly help out family members, friends, colleagues and even general members of the public they do not know, whether as part of their day to day routine or sporadically, and we would like to help you say thank you.

If you know someone that you think deserves a treat for their kindness, please send an email to nominate them. They must live within 5 miles of Reading town centre. Be sure to give us their details, why they deserve this recommendation and how you would like to say thank you. This could simply be a bouquet of flowers, a spa treatment or an outing such a theatre trip or afternoon tea. Emails to, with the title ‘Act of Kindness’.

Lets make March a little brighter!


Donating a travel bed to local family

A family who live in Whitley, Reading, were delighted when their application was approved for a travel pod for their 6 year old son.

Ubaydah Amenouche who is physicall disabled was born with a genetic disorder called 17q22deletion. The condition has resulted in him having global delay, profound learning difficulties, scoliosis, severe autism, and double incontinence. Due to his special needs Ubaydah requires one to one care along with special equipment on a day to day basis. Since being born, the family have been unable to go on holiday or have any vital respite as Ubaydah requires a specialised bed to sleep in at all times, which also impacts Ubaydah’s younger brother.

Angelina, Ubaydah’s mother, had applied to other charities and the Occupational therapy team in Reading, but all were unable to assist with her plight. Upon finding out about us, the John Sykes Foundation, from Reading Borough Council, she applied to the charity and her application was accepted within a week, and four weeks later, they took delivery of the specialised travel pod, just in time for Ubaydah and his Father, Youcef, to visit his Grandmother.

Ubaydah’s mother said “I cannot really express by gratitude in words to h charity for how easy the application process was compared to other charities to how fast the response was and how quickly they followed through with the grant for the special needs travel bed for our son.

Usually applying to charities is a long process and a mound of paperwork so it was so refreshing to see such a different approach and quick, positive response.

The grant is quite simply life changing as we can now consider future family holidays and even respite options from family which was simply not possible before due to our son’s complex needs.”

Our Founder, John Sykes, commented, “Ubaydah’s particular case really touched us and the Trustees’ decision to help was unanimous. Our Foundation works quietly in the background to help where others cannot and this is a wonderful example of helping someone in need within our great town of Reading. I am hugely passionate about Reading and what makes me most proud is delivering on our charitable purpose, giving someone a chance to work towards a great achievement, or simply taking a helping hand. In particular, helping those who do not shout the loudest and making a difference in their life means making a world of difference to me.”

Applying for a grant is easy, and for more information, please visit the How We Can Help section.

John Sykes Foundation to donate a further £5,000 by the end of August 2018

Do you know someone, or are you, in need of financial support? If so, the John Sykes Foundation wants to hear from you.  

The John Sykes Foundation was launched in 2014 with the aim to support individuals from all walks of life who live within a five mile radius of Reading Town Centre, in areas such as education, health, arts, culture, heritage, sports, science, financial hardship,and/or disability. Their aim is to be there when no other avenues of support are available.

The charity, which was founded by John Sykes, who was born and bred in Reading, have a further £5,000, which they would like to pledge by the end of August. The Foundation trustees are currently searching for local residents whose lives could benefit with a little help. This could be via a one off grant, or various smaller grants divided between several individuals.

John Sykes, the Charity’s Founder said:

This summer we would like to see an increase in grant applications, and I’m hopeful that our Foundation can really engage with the Reading community and find individuals in need of our support. Because we do not specialise in any particular area our only limitation is that the individual who needs support lives in Reading and just some of the ways where the Foundation can help would be supporting:

a child or family struggling with an illness or disability by purchasing specialist equipment not available from the NHS, or even just organising a day out; or
an individual with a talent, but without financial support they would not be able to reach the next level; or
helping an individual or small group with a special project which they want to create which will benefit the Reading community for future generations.

There are so many ways we can help and so anyone thinking about applying in their own right or for someone else, we hope you will engage with us so we can understand the need.”

Some examples of where the charity has awarded grants to date include:

financially supporting an aspiring athlete to reach his ultimate goal, to compete in the Olympics;
providing a trampoline to a child with additional needs;
helping a young girl diagnosed with cancer to stay on top of her school work and explore other hobbies whilst in hospital by donating an iPad; and
Supporting 5 youths from under privileged backgrounds gain confidence.

This is to name just a few.

A Christmas card from Ufton Court!

A Christmas card from Ufton Court!

We received a beautiful Christmas card from the wonderful team at Ufton Court! Thank you! Have a happy and healthy 2018!

A treasured Thank You card

Thank You cards!

We have received a beautifully artistic Thank You card from a person we have helped recently. It will be treasured greatly.

Trampoline for young Reading boy

A trampoline for a young Reading boy

Recently, we were able to provide a fun trampoline to a young Reading boy with special needs, which would prevent him from doing all the things children his age would normally do. Both for him and his family, the trampoline has made such a difference.

We worked closely with Darren Smyth from Argos and Dene Tonna, who both helped us provide this for him.

He loves playing on it with his family, and it’s amazing to put a great smile on his face!


More news with Thea

£1000 donation to Thea

Almost a year ago now, we donated an iPad to Thea, who has, for nearly 2 years, been suffering with a rare form of bone cancer. Thea, and her Mum, Ali, have been battling through this tough time, and it has been getting even more difficult with more complications being added on to Thea’s struggle.

We have kept a great contact with Thea and Ali, and what Ali finds hard is keeping Thea’s spirits lifted, especially being a single parent with tight funds. It is even more difficult with Thea being unable to do the activities that others of her own age would not.

The John Sykes Foundation recently donated £1000 to Thea and Ali, of which they were both overwhelmed by. Ali said “It will make such a difference being able to afford to buy things, which will make a difference over the forthcoming months.”

This would consequently make a difference in Thea’s reaction to her treatment, as both her and her Mum would have their spirits lifted up, because they wouldn’t have to worry as much!

We’re here for you Thea!

Warm seasonal wishes from Thea and Ali Clarke

Warmest wishes at Christmas.

The JSF received a lovely Christmas card from Thea and Ali.

Hand delivered by Ali Clarke, Thea’s Mum. A beautiful Christmas card hand painted in watercolours by Thea. 


Thea Seasonal Greetings 2