Reading is one of the three Rs, after all!
One of the first and arguably most ambitious undertakings that will spearhead our Royals 150 celebrations this year will be ‘Fanfare for the Future’ – a legacy project that will see the club embed its past, present and future into the school curriculum this summer.
Reading Football Club celebrates 150 years of professional football in 2021-22 but it also recognised a century and a half of history rooted deep within the Berkshire community.
And this project seeks to celebrate the connection we as a club have successfully enjoyed for such a long period of time as well as ensure that connection continues to grow for many, many years to come.
When planning for our 150th anniversary season first began, a legacy project for local schools in the community was proposed. The initial stages of the project planning saw us consult with a group of local schools to gauge interest and the level of engagement we could expect - and a huge amount of work went into a submission applying for funding via the Premier League’s ‘Fans Fund’, a commitment from the Premier League to fund projects that improve the relationship between fans and their clubs and enhance the way supporters engage with each other.
The application for a grant was accepted in February 2020 and, since then, the wheels have been in motion and in consultation with a number of local schools we have prepared a bank of suitable resources, including a bespoke online portal designed for teachers, which can be initially delivered to primary school pupils aged between 8-9. And these resources have Reading Football Club at the heart of each topic being taught.
The aim of the project is simply to engage with the next generation of Royals fans. And through ‘Fanfare for the Future’ we want to enable the next generation to understand and experience the important role ‘heritage’ plays in a community and to demonstrate the strong bond a local football club can create with its community including the role it can play as a ‘force for good’ to disadvantaged and at-risk young people through its Community Trust.
The resources themselves will be largely focused on improving children’s understanding of the history and geography of the club and the town as well as the role the club has played in the community and industry within the area.
Downloadable resources will also feature a focus on localism; understanding the area in which these young children are growing up via the journey Reading Football Club has made from its town centre base to the more modern Madejski Stadium site. Art too will also play a key theme for the pupils learning, with resources put together that are capable of spanning a whole range of school subjects.
Importantly, this project is not designed to be a one season wonder. We are providing a heritage module and flexible resources for schools that can continue beyond next season’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
In the summer, we hope to invite teachers, pupils and parents from the schools who have partnered with the club to pilot the delivery of these Royals resources, to showcase the project to a wider range of primary schools across the Berkshire area with the intention of recruiting more and more local school support ahead of the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
Writing and Arithmetic remain important, of course. But Reading is taking centre stage for school children in 2021-22 and beyond!