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Charity supports the creation of media traineeships in Wokingham


A Berkshire-based charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of disadvantaged individuals has named trainee journalists of the local newspaper as its next beneficiaries.


Founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and philanthropist David Brownlow CVO DL, the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation has donated over £8 million to both local and national projects.


Examples of the organisation’s work include a generous donation to the 2014 Twyfest, the supply of mobility scooters to local residents, and the distribution of life-saving defibrillators to towns across the borough.


Chief Executive of the foundation Alexander Barfield said: “Our work brings us face to face with situations at their worst, but humanity at its best. Presenting local groups with grants which we know are going towards a good cause is a very heart-warming experience.”


Alexander joined the charity in 2013 with a passion for helping others. He said: “I grew up and was educated in Wokingham so working on projects close to home is always rewarding.”


And it was his admiration for Mr Brownlow’s work which drew him to the initiative. He added: “David is a self-made man. He has always worked hard in life and the charity is a perfect exemplar of his devotion to society.”


As well as his work for DBCF, Alexander is also vice-chairman of Twyford Together, Trustee of Berkshire Community Foundation and member of both the Waltham St Lawrence Village Show and Macmillan Cancer Support Carol Concert committees.


He said: “Being part of these different networks means I get to see a lot of the hard work that occurs in our local community.”


And Mr Barfield believes The Wokingham Paper plays a crucial role in supporting the efforts of the local community and for keeping residents informed.


He added: “We are delighted to be able to support the Paper’s traineeship programme. Local news is of a high importance to David and the team so this is a great way of rewarding the publication for its work.”



Davids and Davids alike, The Wokingham Paper also have another man to thank for their progress.


Wokingham man David Riley took over ownership of the publication in October. He said: “When I acquired the Paper I established it as a Social Enterprise for the benefit of the various communities within the borough. As part of this, the Paper has a commitment to developing employment and training opportunities in the area. I am delighted with this partnership with the DBCF because it enables us to fulfil that commitment.”


The DBCF is now working with David Riley to provide aspiring journalists with the opportunity to complete a three-month traineeship with the Paper. And first to partake in the scheme are second year Reading University student Taz Usher and Woosehill-based sports journalism graduate Andy Preston.


Launch of Wokingham Paper traineeship scheme – Taz Usher, Raj Khan and Andy Preston


Miss Usher said: “I’m really grateful that the David Brownlow foundation and Wokingham Paper have been able to offer me this opportunity. It’s almost unheard of for a company to be able to offer a training programme for this length of time, let alone invest the time and effort that Phil and David have into building my experience.

“I’ve been especially lucky to work alongside an editor with more than 20 years experience. At the start of the scheme, Phil was patient with me and taught me everything from scratch. Now I feel I am really getting to grips with the trade and have since produced a huge range of stories. “

Taz added: “Highlights of my traineeship include interviewing a star from my favourite childhood television show and producing a front-page story on child poverty figures for Wokingham. Speaking to so many different people from the borough has also taught me so much about the local area and some of the inspirational individuals that live here.”

For more information about the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation log on to

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