“It all started about two years ago when we first began looking at the club’s 150th anniversary season and how we would celebrate,” Project Lead Consultant Mandy Lane told BBC Radio Berkshire’s Andrew Peach last week.
“One of the ideas that came forward from the group of volunteers and club staff who help to run the group was this one…’Fanfare for the Future’
“We often stand at Reading station watching the trains heading into London on a Saturday morning with lots of young fans going to Premier League games in the capital. Being so close to London and so many top flight clubs, can be a constraint.
“I had something similar with my own children. At the ages of 5 and 7, they were all set to start supporting Liverpool. So I took them along to Reading – it was easy because it is such a great club for families. And that started it…now they are both Season Ticket holders at the ages of 25 and 27.
“So we thought, let’s try and get our local children learning more about Reading Football Club but also about Reading’s work in the community and the role this club has played over the last 150 years in and around the town.”
“We wanted young people to have a better understanding of the culture and the ethos of the club.”
🏫 ‘Fanfare for the Future’ project to deliver Reading Football Club into the school curriculum8 February 2021
One of the first and arguably most ambitious undertakings that is spearheading our Royals 150 celebrations this year is ‘Fanfare for the Future’ – a legacy project that will see the club embed its past, present and future into the school curriculum this summer.
The aim of the project is simply to engage with the next generation of Royals fans. 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 aim of this project is to have Reading in the hearts and minds of the local primary school children – whether that sees them follow the club as their first club or their second club…that’s great.
“Our habits are changing and with the pandemic kicking in, it’s so important that we attract as many fans to come to the stadium to support the club when football is open to the public again.
“Reading is a town and a club to be proud of.”
English Martyrs' Catholic Primary School is one of the schools piloting the scheme this term and Head Teacher, Cathy Doberska, said “At a practical level, this is not about inserting additional things into our curriculum; the primary school history curriculum already says that you should have local history as an important part of the strand and the geography curriculum already includes a lot of human geography based on why people choose to build certain things in certain places, how settlements develop. Both those aspects of the curriculum can link in really well with the resources the ‘Fanfare for the Future’ project has provided.
“Some of the children who live on the old site of Elm Park won’t even know that they used to play professional football on that land.
“And I think the sessions this project is introducing might well engage children more effectively – that sense of where you come from is so important to children.”
This project is not designed to be a one season wonder. We are providing modules in history, geography and art, flexible resources for schools that can continue beyond next season’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
So in the summer, with the help of the teachers, pupils and parents from the schools who are piloting these Royals resources, we will look 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.