Our Story

Our Story

Our story

From 2003 to now

Connect Reading started as Reading Business Community Partnership in 2003. First established by local businesses to broker relationships and resources between charities and businesses. We use an innovative and cross-sector approach to in-kind support.

Over the years we have become the go-to place for organisations looking for bespoke CSR advice, information and guidance and how to get involved in local initiatives. 

Those who’ve led us through the years have won awards for their contributions to business and the community. 

  • Ruth Spicer (CEO from 2003-2010) received the M&S Sieff Award in 2007
  • Clare Wright (MD from 2010-2016) was nominated (as was Connect Reading itself) for a Pride of Reading award in 2013
  • Kirsti Wilson (MD from 2016-2019) was nominated for a Pride of Reading Award in 2019
  • Lorraine Briffitt (current CEO) received the Alice Driver Award for Inspirational Women in 2020

What makes
us tick?

From initiating conversations over a pastry and cup of coffee to planning team days, we love creating meaningful connections.  

We are committed to having a long-term impact through all that we do. We get to know our members so we can meet their actual needs and believe that together we can create a better Reading for everyone! 

"Being CEO at Connect Reading gives me the opportunity to bring together my passion to help people with my belief that a thriving economy is best rooted in a thriving community. Over the next year I'm looking forward to building new partnerships and continuing to serve our members to help make Reading a better place... for everyone!"
by Lorraine Briffitt
Reading Town Centre

Meet the Connect Reading team

Lorraine Briffitt


Lorraine has worked in Reading for almost 20 years, in roles ranging from one-to-one contact with complex client groups, to management and directorship of teams and projects.  At Connect Reading, she brings her network of relationships and connections to help build Connect Reading’s positive impact on the Greater Reading area.  Lorraine is also the Chair of Reading City of Sanctuary, a Board Trustee of Beyond the Streets and a Community Advisor to the Thames Valley Police for the Reading area.

Jed Roylance

Comms & Events Coordinator

Headshot of Jed

Jed graduated from university last year, where he got involved with various societies to help with the smooth running of events and videos done throughout the years. He also has a background in customer service which has helped his teamwork as well as his ability to support and connect with others. He enjoys playing trombone, listening to a wide range of music, and organising long walks across the country.

Daanish Afzal

Operations Coordinator

Daanish calls Reading home, having lived here his entire life. He joined the Connect Reading team at the end of June. Before coming to us he completed an apprenticeship at American Airlines. It was whilst he was there that he received recognition for his hard work when he received the Above & Beyond badge. He is also an associate at a charity in Pakistan that supports orphans, offering housing and employment opportunities.

Find out how you can get involved

Learn more about what it looks like to become part of the Connect Reading community and how you might get involved.

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