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Thursday, 24 September 2020


Professor Van de Noort announced as new patron of Launchpad

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READING’S leading homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad, has announced that Professor Robert Van de Noort has joined the charity as a patron and will be taking part in Launchpad’s fundraiser, Big Sleep Out at home, later this year on World Homeless Day, Saturday 10 October.

An extremely valued supporter of Launchpad, Robert joins the charity’s roster of patrons – which includes the Earl and Countess of Canarvon, Sir John Madejski, Matt Allwright and Danyl Johnson – to increase Launchpad’s profile and spread good news about the work the charity does to prevent homelessness in Reading.

Robert’s first event as patron will be an adaptation of the charity’s much-loved annual fundraising event, the Big Sleep Out – which is being hosted virtually this year on World Homeless Day, Saturday 10 October. The Big Sleep Out at home will see participants take on the challenge of swapping a comfortable bed for a sleeping bag in their garden – all to help raise £25,000 so the charity can continue their vital work ensuring vulnerable people don’t lose their home.

Professor Robert Van de Noort has been the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading since 2019 and has general responsibility for maintaining and promoting the effectiveness, efficiency and good order of the University.

Professor Van De Noort joined the University of Reading in 2014, and his research expertise is in the archaeology of marine, intertidal and terrestrial wetlands. Robert also chairs the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, which helps manage flood risk in the region.

Kirsti Wilson, head of marketing and fundraising at Launchpad, said:

“Launchpad was founded as a soup kitchen in 1979 by students at the University of Reading and we are thrilled to welcome the institution’s Vice-Chancellor to the charity as a patron, more than 40 years later. Robert himself has supported the charity for a number of years with regular donations and by taking part in our fundraising events, and his great passion for the community of Reading and our cause is truly inspirational. It will be a real honour to work closely with him to prevent homelessness in Reading – and we are delighted he has already pledged to brave the outdoors in his garden for the Big Sleep Out at home in October!”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Van De Noort said:

“The University of Reading has played an important role in the formation of Launchpad and so I’m delighted to continue the close links between our organisations in the role of Patron.

“The role of universities in civic life is more crucial than ever, through our research, our partnership with local communities and businesses, and through the many ways that our staff and students contribute to Reading. My role at Launchpad is just a small part of a greater connection between the University and the town, making the University not just of Reading, but for Reading too.”

Booking is now open for Big Sleep Out at home and tickets are priced at £15 per person or £40 for a group of four. Find out more about Big Sleep Out at home and book your place by visiting: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout

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