As always, Reading Football Club has been active in the community we serve in May. Here's a small taste of the variety of activities we have been up to recently connecting the club with its fans and its town ...
Easter Soccer Schools in full force
Our Community Trust-run Soccer Schools proved as popular as ever during Easter, with more than 500 children taking vantage of some expert tuition from our professional coaches across the school holiday period.
During week one, Reading FC Women stars Becky Jane and Rachel Furness paid a visit to the young aspiring footballers at The Dome at Madejski Stadium.
Recent Academy graduate, Teddy Howe and Tyler Blackett were the surprise visitors for weeks two and three – posing for photos and signing autographs for the young budding footballers taking part in the events over the Easter period.
Deaf Team FA People’s Cup champions
Reading Deaf FC were crowned the winners of the Adult Male Premiership competition in the FA People’s Cup after defeating Sutton United 2-0 in the final at St George’s Park.
A dominant performance in the final, they took the lead early on with a low driven shot from outside the box, and never looked back – hitting the woodwork twice before a well-worked second goal put the result beyond doubt.
It was their first national title for our Deaf side, who were involved in three more cup finals in what was a superb season.
Royals help raise awareness of railway risk takers
The EFL Trust launched a new partnership with Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) to help tackle the increasing number of people risking their lives on the railway.
New figures reveal over 250 incidents a week have been recorded by people taking risks on the railway – taking short-cuts, capturing photos and even ‘train surfing’ – sometimes with tragic consequences. Young people (Under-18s) make up one of the largest categories, responsible for a third of all cases.
All 72 EFL Clubs are involved in the campaign with activity ranging from social media posts to player messages. Clubs who are within the trespass incident hot spot will run workshops in their local communities.
Club to Sponsor Community Champion award at Pride of Reading 2019
‘Pride of Reading 2019’ was officially launched in May and Reading Football Club prides itself on an absolute commitment to family, friendship and community.
Through our Community Trust, we run 25 different community programmes during each calendar year, engaging more than 3,000 participants every week in programmes that cover our Trust’s key pillars: health, education, social inclusion and sports participation.
The impact the club has within our local community is evident for our coaches to see when they come into work every day. And that evidence inspires them to make a real difference to people's lives.
With Madejski Stadium again hosting the Pride of Reading Awards ceremony in 2019, it was announced that we will be adding even more support to the event by sponsoring the Community Champion Award this year.
Rotherfield United back the boys and raise the cash
Rotherfield United are one of a number of clubs who have taken a very active part in the club's Schools and Grassroots Ticketing Scheme.
The club, who are based in Bishopswood Sports Ground, were recently targeted by vandals, who in driving a car across their premises caused approximately £4,000-worth of damage. The pitches were ruined, and the goal posts burnt and broken.
The club is run solely by volunteers who organise their own fundraising events and it is used by members every weekend of the year. So, as one of our ticketing initiative partners, the Royals offered a little assistance.
As such special supporters of the scheme throughout this season, we offered the local side a Club Day when we took on Birmingham City on the last day of our 2018-19 season last Sunday. That meant we offered a special discounted ticket price for the club and guaranteed that 50% of the sales they generated would be donated straight back to Rotherfield United.
They sold an impressive 158 tickets to our season finale, enjoying a fantastic afternoon at the Madejski whilst raising £500 that can be put towards their pitch renovations.
McCleary wins Community Player of the Year
Our Community Trust represents Reading FC in the local area and surrounding communities, acting as an extension of the club to engage with local people and make a genuine impact on their lives.
Be that through Soccer Schools, school visits, training centres or social inclusion and education, the support is there for those who need it.
After putting in the effort both on the pitch and off it, McCleary was presented with the Community Player of the Year Award by Community Trust Manager, Dave Evans.
Jón Daði on hand for awards at Nine Mile Ride
Royals striker, Jon Daði Böðvarsson paid a visit to Nine Mile Ride Primary School in May, to hand out awards at a presentation evening at the local school.
The sporty children in attendance were given awards for their playing abilities on the field, while the Reading striker posed for photos and signed Royals memorabilia for the young supporters.
He also took part in a game of cup stacking with a young pupil, pitting his wits as he aimed to build a tower of cups on a table at the presentation evening.
The evening, held at Madejski Stadium, gave the children a chance to meet a Royal and earn their awards with the home of Reading as their backdrop.
Congratulations to the award winners from the night, and we hope to see you all at Madejski Stadium backing Jón and the Royals next season.
Sport In Mind receive donation from Royals
Reading FC have donated £2,000 to local charity, Sport In Mind, as part of a fund created by the FA Community Shield.
In total, 124 clubs in England are awarded money each season to be distributed to up to three local charities, with the Royals opting for Sport In Mind as their choice for 2018-19.
While their influence has now spread across the south of England, Sport In Mind are an independent mental health charity that were founded in Berkshire in 2010.
The charity were presented with their £2,000 cheque at half time during the season's final match, at home to Birmingham City, and that amount of money will go a way to support their development.