CEO blog February 2021

Over the next few months, there will be a trustee takeover on Ian’s blog! This month is Debs Edwards, who became a Launchpad trustee last year - after supporting the charity for many years!

I fell in love with Launchpad in 2009 and have never got over it! How did this amazing event happen? I am Debs Edwards and have been a local Reading Borough Councillor since 2006, and knew about Launchpad through my Councillor role. But it wasn’t until I became the Lead Councillor for Housing in 2009/10 that I found out more about what a fantastic charity Launchpad is – one of Reading’s champions for our homeless, forgotten, and lost citizens. Launchpad has focused staff, trustees and volunteers – who all work hard to provide support to people in need and turn their lives; raise funds; and build partnerships to better help clients. The charity works in a pro-active, person encompassing way, and it’s constantly evolving and moving forward.

I am an Armed Force’s child and have never stayed in one place for more than two years or so, and I have attended 13 schools and colleges. I first came to Reading in 1968, left in 1970 and then returned in 1981. The decision to move back to Reading after 11 years away didn’t faze me. I’d done this before and thought we’d stay for a couple of years then be off again. But Reading is the town that embraced me and my family, opened doors for us, and enabled us to develop and grow. Reading has brought us friendships, and a sense of identity and belonging. It has inspired us to achieve and support our local community, and it has a spirit to fight for fairness and equality for all. Launchpad epitomises Reading’s values – so what’s not to love. I am smitten!

Since 2009, I and Alun, my husband, have become regular Launchpad donors – which has included raising funds when I became Reading’s Mayor in 2011/12 and in 2018/19, when Launchpad was one of my Mayoral Charities. I was sponsored to take part in Big Sleep Outs which were great experiences, as I met many other fundraisers from all over the Reading community with the same aims and ambitions for Launchpad as myself. In 2020 I was honoured to be invited to join Launchpad as a trustee. I sit on the marketing and fundraising committee, and work with other trustees and Launchpad staff to contribute to the essential funds needed to support the running of Launchpad. I have always enjoyed team work and being part of this committee really shows what can be achieved together. Due to the impact of the pandemic on Launchpad’s funds, we will be working extra hard to fundraise this year. The charity’s services are need more than ever before. Let’s embrace this together and continue to help Reading’s vulnerable citizens.

A few recommendations from me:

Film of the month: South Pacific

For pure escapism – which is what we all need at the moment! I sing along!

Book of the month: The Wallander series by Henning Mankell

I’m a detective novel fan, so anything from that genre but at the moment I’m really enjoying the Wallander series by Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell. .




Get involved

Get help