As usual, the Royals have been busy engaging with the community in December - here's a selection of what the club has been up to!
Isaac attends our Community Trust Soccer Schools in Henwick and has mild cerebral palsy.
In attending our Soccer Schools, our Trust coaches have been able to speak directly to Isaac and his parents about disability football in the area and the player pathway available to him, giving him information about his nearest inclusive football club and recommending Isaac to the disability talent hub in the local area.
He has since been invited to join the hub where England scouts will monitor his progress with a view to helping develop his skills and potentially going on to play for the England CP team.
It can be a tough time for families when the little ones have to head to hospital – and even more so around the Christmas period. And that’s why our first-team players headed down to the children’s ward at Royal Berkshire Hospital to deliver some Christmas cheer and put smiles on young faces!
Click the link above to see a full gallery of the Royals' annual Christmas visit to our local hospital.
Several Royals headed to Reading College to hand out awards to the students - seeing the progress they have made over the past year!
Paul McShane, Molly Bartrip and Sir John Madejski all attended the ceremony, celebrating the students' achievements and enjoying an evening spent in the community.
There was a sea of blue in Green Park before Christmas – groups of Royals’ Academy footballers from all across the age groups donned their tracksuits, blue Santa hats and embarked on a 5K run to raise funds for two terrific charities.
The £5 entry fee, which was paid by all entrants – that included our fledgling players, their families, and some Academy staff – went towards a great fundraising venture.
Half of the money raised was for Action Bladder Cancer, the chosen charity of Eamonn Dolan, while the other half went directly to the Reading FC Community Trust’s disability programme – and members of our Deaf Team, some of the club’s Primary Stars staff and a number of students from a local SEN school who work with our Trust coaches on a regular basis also took part.
Several Royals popped up in our Megastore before Christmas, having plenty of selfies and signing autographs for our supporters!
This was on the eve of our Under-23s beating Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup in RG2 - making it a successful evening all round at Madejski Stadium!
Just before local schools broke up for the Christmas holidays, Reading goalkeeper Sam Walker was in attendance as Reading FC Community Trust ran their latest Learning Zone experience as we welcomed pupils from Nine Mile Ride primary school to Madejski Stadium.
The Learning Zone has a permanent base in The Royal Bus, which is situated in the Fun Zone on matchdays, but we have also begun to run workshops based inside the stadium for a fun experience for students from Years 5 and 6.
Our Community Trust have funded the Learning Zone thanks to a governmental Innovation Fund grant, which has helped them to deliver the series of sessions as part of the Premier League Primary Stars initiative.
Reading Football Club hosted an HR Breakfast Club event at Madejski Stadium at the start of December, with the subject of mental health in the workplace the focus courtesy of guest speaker David Beeney.
David spent the last 13 years of his media career at Auto Trader as one of their Commercial Directors and only left just over a year ago. Alongside his media career, he started training as a mental health counsellor eight years ago and has been qualified for the past three years. He now provides voluntary counselling for the charity MIND, the EFL's charity partner this season.
At the event, he helped to identify the difficulties that managers face in terms of knowing what to say and how to successfully manage employees whose mental health is suffering.
A sincere thank you to David and Breaking the Silence for talking to the group. He spent more than 30 years avoiding such presentations for fear of a panic attack; however, he was so humbled by the feedback he received when he first shared his personal story, he has decided to keep sharing it to help employers understand more about mental health and to help create stigma-free environments that are all inclusive.