Whitley, commonly known as one of the larger suburbs of Reading, Berkshire, is bounded to the north and east by a ridge of high ground carrying the road to Shinfield, to the west by the valleys of the River Kennet and the Foudry Brook, and to the south by an ill-defined boundary with the suburb of Whitley Wood. The former main road to Basingstoke passes just to the west of the center of Whitley, dividing largely residential areas to its east from a largely industrial zone to its west. The current A33 relief road to Basingstoke passes to the west of the industrial area, as does the parallel railway line. Between the relief road and railway can be found the recent Green Park business park, the Madejski Stadium, and Reading Gate retail park.
Nearby towns and cities: Reading
In 2005 WEC formed ASPIRE2, a charity that raises funds to benefit children who access education in Whitley. The charity was successful in winning a Meridian People’s Millions grant to build sensory gardens in 10 of the Cluster schools. The gardens are expected to be built by summer 2006. ASPIRE2 is also supporting WEC in developing a summer programme for Whitley children and young people, including a summer camp in partnership with Vision Ltd at Wokefield Park. In 2005, 2 camps were funded by WEC as a pilot project, with 50 children aged 9-13 taking part in team building activities, camp-craft and trips to local farms and the Hawk Sanctuary in Hampshire. The summer camp offers opportunities to experience the countryside, and to develop skills and attitudes to cope with challenging situations.
Whitley was long known for the Whitley whiff, caused by the nearby, and now closed, sewage works, though this was not the only cause of the odour; a local brewery also contributes to the sensation.
When Ricky Gervais (who comes from Whitley) used to perform a stand-up comedy segment on the British TV show The 11 O'Clock Show, he would often (comically) describe the residents of the Whitley as the lowest members of society. This turned Whitley into a household name for the duration of the series.