As a club, we are committed to ensuring we act with equality and inclusion at the heart of everything we do and stand for as a business… at all times! And this weekend, we will be celebrating that stance and all-encompassing company-wide policy by delivering a ‘One Reading’ message to our supporters!
Every season, acting as role models to so many within our local community, we are invited as a club to designate fixtures to help promote the messages of a host of specific nationwide campaigns – some supported by the EFL or the FA or the Premier League, others simply looking to football to lead the way in eradicating inequality.
However, whether it be wearing brightly coloured laces in support of diversity, or holding up cards or wearing badges to kick out racism… we believe it is important to spread this message to our supporters 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – not just in a specified awareness week or on a pre-determined day of action.
‘One Reading’ is our way of demonstrating 365 days of action, 52 weeks of awareness of all we do as a football club to promote equality… football is for everyone!
Saturday is not ‘One Reading’ day. ‘One Reading’ is a constant in everything we do as a club. This weekend is simply a good opportunity for us to celebrate the fantastic work the club and Trust deliver day in, day out.
Much of our community work, promoting this ethos, is done by our Community Trust who work closely with a number of different groups across the local community to ensure football is accessible for everyone; their projects focus on four pillars – social inclusion, sports participation, education and health and wellbeing. Children representing each pillar will come together to take part in the ‘Starting Line Up’ matchday experience, welcoming the teams out for kick off, and a variety of other groups who the Trust regularly work alongside will be here on Saturday too – swing by the Royals Fun Zone ahead of kick-off to see them showcasing the fantastic work the Trust do for them all year round.
Our Women’s team, who ply their trade in the FA Women’s Super League One, work closely with local teams to encourage girls of all ages to get involved in the game. A number of players from the Reading FC Women’s Academy will be at today’s game and the Under-10s will be pitchside at half-time for a special presentation as we welcome them into the club!
STAR, who actively support the Trust by sponsoring the Reading FC Deaf team will be on hand to speak to supporters on the day, while the Trust’s walking football team will be holding a charity collection outside the stadium before kick-off, with all funds donated to the Community Trust!
There will be representatives from a number of the groups that our Community Trust works with on site on Saturday too to showcase their work - that includes South Reading Football Club, the women's walking football team and fans can also take part in a blind penalty shoot-out! Plus, representatives from Kick it Out will be based at the Royals Fun Zone before the game to chat to fans – they are on hand to answer any questions and share details on the organisation's work.
And the club is proud to welcome supporters to Madejski Stadium with all levels and forms of disability, actively seeking to make every individual’s visit as enjoyable as possible; there are up to 73 wheelchair places for home supporters and 14 places for visiting fans available at every home game, 12 fixed positions in the South West corner for visually impaired fans who can listen to match commentary via a headset if they wish, we host 136 disabled parking spaces on site and, in conjunction with STAR and Readibus, we provide a door-to-door transport system to enable disabled supporters to get to both home and away games every season.