CEO blog September

Over the next few months, there will be a trustee takeover on Ian's blog! First up is Manjula Phadnis, who joined Launchpad last year and has been heading up our work on diversity and inclusion at the charity.

I’ve been a trustee at Launchpad since 2019 and joined because I have seen firsthand the incredible impact of our vital work in the community, preventing homelessness, providing homes and rebuilding lives.

I have been involved in voluntary work in the educational and financial sectors in Reading since 2001, and have spent my career working in banks and credit unions. I feel passionately about financial and social inclusion in Berkshire and hope to bring my skills and perspective to the direction of Launchpad .

It has certainly been a time of flux for Launchpad, as it would have been for everyone reading this. As you know, we adapted our services so we could continue supporting the most vulnerable in our town during lockdown and while no one is sure what the future holds this winter – we know we will do everything it takes to support those in need.  I hope you are all looking after your health and well being, and keeping safe.

While we work to prevent homelessness in Reading, the issue of equality is at the heart of everything we do at Launchpad. So, this summer, trustees have closely followed local and national movements around Black Lives Matter, diversity and inclusion – and have spent some time focusing on how we are reflecting this in our organisation.

In our most recent meeting (via Zoom and punctuated by our dogs, cats, children, instrument practising etc!) we continued our discussion around outcomes for the minorities we serve. As a result we continue to work with a diversity coach we approached in the summer, in order to help us view inclusion issues with rigour and to ensure that we represent and serve our diverse, vibrant community, to the best of our abilities.

We also look forward to October bringing us Black History Month, an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of Black British people to our country and of course October also  brings us Launchpad’s annual, much loved and vitally important Big Sleep Out at home. Please consider swapping  your bed for your sleeping bag outdoors and help raise vital funds for our work. Myself and my family are taking on the challenge – and we hope to virtually see you there!

Take care,


A few recommendations from me:

TV series of the month: A Suitable Boy on BBC iPlayer

Based on Vikram Seth’s epic novel on post-partition India, it is a splashy, colourful yet topical period drama about class, politics and so much more.

Book of the month: Girl, Woman. Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, this novel about black, British women with intertwined lives, may open up new perspectives and experiences which need to be heard.


Get involved

Get help