Skipper shows support at our deaf team’s training session!

Reading skipper Paul McShane was warmly welcomed as a guest of the Reading FC Deaf team at a training session earlier this week.


The skipper, an Ireland international and a veteran of hundreds of professional fixtures in the Premier League and Championship, dropped by at a training session at The Piggott School in Twyford.

Reading FC Deaf was first founded in 2013 through Reading FC Community Trust with the help of Total Communication, one of leading British Sign Language (BSL) agencies.  After an initial 10 weeks of taster sessions, Reading FC Deaf were then integrated into local football festivals and began competing in the BOBi League – a pan-disability league that operates across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  The side also compete in the South English Deaf Football League & Cup, and they receive sponsorship from STAR.

They have enjoyed a few successful years on the pitch, where the team have been able to develop a number of talented players including representatives of England and Great Britain.  And after being crowned the FA South East Disability Cup winners last season, their title defence begins next Saturday with a series of round-robin games at Arbour Park in Slough.

Following on from the training session, Macca met the players and had a chance to share his experience in the game with the Royals’ representatives as they look to make their own inroads in their footballing careers.

Craig Peters, manager of the Reading FC Deaf side, said: “We are hugely grateful to Paul for attending our training session and sharing some of his experiences with our players.

“We enjoy our training sessions and representing the Royals in competitive fixtures, and I know that all of the players were delighted to welcome our club captain to The Piggott School – it is a big boost to everyone to have Paul’s support!”

One Reading | Football for everyone

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.

Local schools take part in Premier League Primary Stars tournament

Local school teams were welcomed to Madejski Stadium to take part in a tournament earlier this week.

Reading FC Community Trust, in partnership with Wokingham Primary Schools FA, welcomed 300 year 5 and 6 children from the to take in a Primary Stars school football tournament to the Academy 4G pitch at the Madejski Stadium complex.

All 30 teams took part in group stages in the morning with the top eight across the groups going through to a knock out. The remaining teams who hadn’t advanced took part in mini leagues against other schools. All games were fiercely competitive and all teams showed great talent and game-play.

The final was between Winnersh Primary School A Team and Polehampton Junior School, with Polehampton coming out winners. Polehampton were presented with the cup by Reading FC Womens first teamers Molly Bartrip and Georgia Clifford.

Every child that took part in the tournament got given a free ticket to watch Reading FC take on Norwich City in the Championship on Saturday.

The tournament was put on as part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme ran by the Community Trust, who host a number of tournaments throughout the academic year for schools in Berkshire and the surrounding areas.

For more information on how to get involved with the primary stars programme please contact or

John Swift visits Reading FC Deaf team

Swift meets deaf team members to watch training and partake in Q&A…

Reading midfielder John Swift paid a visit to a Reading FC Deaf Team evening training session to watch the team put through their paces.

After training Swift took part in a question and answer session with the squad, who spoke to the former Chelsea man about his playing career and his time with the Royals so far. The players also chatted a bit to Swift about the team’s success in recent years and giving him a bit of background about their season.

The team have had a strong campaign thus far and are through to the final group stage of the South English Deaf League. The winners of the southern group will go on to play in the National Final, with the Royals having finished runners-up last season.

Reading FC Community Trust Assistant Disability Officer, Craig Peters, who works closely with the Deaf Team, was pleased with the way the evening went and thanked Swift for coming along to meet the team.

“Speaking on behalf of the team, I would like to thank John for giving up his time to come to Reading FC Deaf Team training,” said Peters.

“The players were excited to find out he was visiting and it was a good opportunity to ask him questions about his playing career and his journey so far with Reading FC.

“John was impressed to hear about the deaf team success so far and wished us the best of luck for the rest of the season,” Craig continued.

“The deaf team is one of many projects that the ‘My Ability Programme’ delivers at the Community Trust, and it is great to have other first team players making appearances to support our programme.”


Paul McShane receives PFA Community Champion Award


McShane’s work in the community is recognised after being names as the PFA Community Champion for 2016/17

Royals skipper Paul McShane has been awarded the PFA Community Champion award for his work in the local community during the course of season 2016/17. He was awarded the trophy by members of the Community Trust in front of a group of Special Educational Needs students from Berkshire College of Agriculture who he has previously met on several occasions and were understandably delighted for Paul.

As Disability Ambassador for the Reading FC Community Trust he has been very active in his support of the Special Educational Needs community in particular, and has attended several Community Trust run workshops, sports sessions and events this season.

Community Trust Manager Dave Evans said: “From my point of view working with kids with disabilities is where we need the most inspirational figures – who best to meet them than someone like Paul. When he comes up and talks to them or takes part, it makes their day, it makes their year! Having a player like Paul involved is huge for us!”

Discussing the motivations behind his decision to volunteer for the position of Disability Ambassador and his role so far, Paul said: “You recognise their faces from previous visits, they get to know you, it’s a special bond. It’s great to see how happy and joyful they are and that’s the motivation for me.”

PFA Director of Corporate Social Responsibility John Hudson added: “The PFA believes that players who make that extra effort and contribution during the season should be recognised for their support and involvement in the local community.

“This Award will hopefully raise awareness of the great contribution and importance many of our members attach to their roles off the pitch. We would like to offer our congratulations to Paul McShane”.

Sir John Madejski named Patron of Reading FC Community Trust


Sir John Madejski has been named as the first-ever Patron of Reading Football Club’s Community Trust.

Sir John, who spent more than two decades as Chairman of Reading FC and spearheaded the club’s move from Elm Park to the stadium which bears his name in 1998, today accepted the role of Patron and said he was “delighted” to be playing an active role in developing the club’s community roots.

The Patronage is in addition to his recently-confirmed role as Vice Chairman of the football club. Sir John was Chairman from 1990-2012 and has remained actively involved with the club since then. Now the Community Trust have turned to him to help lead their commitment to providing education and development programmes for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in Reading and the surrounding areas.

“We are very proud that Sir John has accepted this figurehead role and that the Trust can benefit from his significant position in the community. The drive, direction and enthusiasm he will bring to the Trust and our stakeholders is immeasurable,” said Andrew Reaney, Co-Chairman of the Community Trust.

Sir John accepted the role at Friday’s Trustees board meeting and was formally announced during half-time of Reading’s game against Bristol City on Saturday, before making the draw for the Golden Gamble lottery, which is one of the Community Trust’s fundraising initiatives.

“Community has been at the heart of everything I aimed to achieve during my tenure as Chairman of Reading Football Club” Sir John said, adding: “I am delighted, now as Patron of the Community Trust, to embrace another wonderful opportunity to champion the tremendous work so professionally and diligently undertaken by the Trust for the community within the town of Reading and beyond”.

Moore takes part in Q&A at Soccer School

Young Royals fans got a surprise at one of our Community Soccer Schools as defender Liam Moore made an appearance!

Liam was invited to The Piggott School, Wargrave, while one of the Royals’ Community Soccer Schools was in full swing over the summer holidays.

The youngsters had the chance to grill the Royals’ defender about all things Reading FC and his career so far in a question and answer session.

Moore, who recently signed a new four-year deal with the Royals, also stuck around to have photos taken with the kids and sign items for them on a memorable day at the Soccer School.

If you would like to find out more about our latest Soccer School dates for October half-term, take a look below!

October & December 2017 Soccer Schools

October 2017

The Dome Indoor Academy Training Centre
Madejski Stadium, RG2 0FL
£42 for 2 days (no individual days)
Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th October, 9am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

The Goals Centre
Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, RG5 3EU
£55 for 4 days or £18 per day
Tuesday 24th to Friday 27th October, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

Henwick Worthy Playing Fields
Henwick Lane, Thatcham, RG18 3BN
£60 for 5 days or £18 per day
Monday 23rd to Friday 27th October, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

The Piggott School (Goalkeepers Session)
Twyford Road, RG10 8DS
£45 for 3 days or £18 per day
Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th October, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

Academy Sport Leisure Centre
Northumberland Avenue, RG2 8DF
£45 for 3 days or £18 per day
Wednesday 25th to Friday 27th October, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

The Goals Centre (Girls only)
Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, RG5 3EU
£42 for 3 days or £18 per day
Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th October, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

December 2017

The Dome Indoor Academy Training Centre
Madejski Stadium, RG2 0FL
£42 for 2 days (no individual days)
Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd December, 9am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

The Goals Centre
Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, RG5 3EU
£45 for 3 days or £18 per day
Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th December, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

The Goals Centre (Girls only)
Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, RG5 3EU
£42 for 3 days or £18 per day
Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th December, 10am-3pm
6 to 14 years old

Click here to book

Lewis Ward and Mary Earps visit our half-term Soccer Schools!

Goalkeeping duo visit Community Trust Soccer School…

Goalkeeping duo Lewis Ward and Mary Earps both paid a visit to a RFC Soccer School at Woodley Goals Centre during the February half term.

Both attended sessions to watch youngsters in the local area show off their skills in our highly popular Soccer Schools, before meeting all the children afterwards for a question and answer session.

Reading Goalkeeper Ward has made a number of appearances in the Reading U23s side this season, as well as having a two loan spells with National League South side Margate FC.

Stopper Mary Earps is the Reading FC Women’s number one and has just received the call from England to join the squad for the She Believes Cup in the United States. The Lionesses will face France as well as World Champions USA and European Champions Germany during their fortnight on the other side of the Atlantic!

The youngsters grilled both Lewis and Mary about their experiences in the game to-date as well as asking the goalkeepers how best to improve their own skills as they look to progress.

As well as chatting with the groups, Lewis and Mary were on hand to pose for photos and sign items for the youngsters in what was a memorable afternoon for the participants at the Soccer Schools!

Royals defender visted a Community Trust Soccer School to meet the young aspiring footballers

After seeing 1057 participants over the summer, we ended on a high with a special guest..
Royals centre-back Jake Cooper made a surprise visit to the Indoor Training Centre at the Madejski Stadium meeting aspiring young players who were taking part in a Soccer School, run by Reading FC Community Trust.

After the youngsters had shown the defender some of their skills, Jake took part in a Question & Answer session with the group, and then signed autographs and posed for some photos.

The 21-year-old then got behind the camera and interviewed one of the Soccer School’s participants, Solly Large, discussing all things football and even who his favourite player was! Check out the video at the top of the article to see what he said…

Cooper grew up locally and attended similar soccer schools as a youngster “I used to attend soccer schools, when I was a kid. In the summer holidays my mum and dad were always sending me out the house to get some training and I loved it, all I wanted to do was play football so it was brilliant” he reminisced.

After starring at the Community Trust Soccer Schools as a young boy Cooper then joined the Royals Academy as a 14-year-old, only a couple of years older than some of the young fans participating at the soccer school. He went on to sign his first professional contract with the club at the age of 18.

A Grandparent watching his young grandson attend just his second Reading FC Community Trust Soccer School said: “He loves his football, this is just really good fun for him! He will definitely come back again!”

There was an enthusiastic atmosphere at the event and everyone (including the parents) were very excited to meet a Reading FC first team player in Cooper.

Although the 6ft 6in centre-back towered over the 8-11-year-olds he spent much of the time crouching down to talk to the children and pose for photos. “I used to love events like these when I was a kid,” he said. “To be able to give something back now is great!”

The Community Trust run Soccer Schools around Reading and Berkshire for boys and girls aged 5 to 14 of all abilities during school holidays. Run by FA-qualified coaches, the courses give children the chance to take part in physical activities during the school break. Reading FC Community Trust provide a safe environment for children to learn new skills, improve their technique whilst having lots of fun at the same time!


New Partnership with Reading College

Young people wanting to launch careers in sport are to benefit from a new partnership between Reading College and The Community Trust at Reading Football Club.
The organisations have joined forces to offer two educational programmes; a Sports and Enterprise Level 2 Diploma for school leavers and a programme targeted at those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

The new partnership was officially launched ahead of Reading FC’s match against Ipswich Town, at the Madejski Stadium, on Friday (9 September).

Dave Evans, Community Trust Manager, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Reading College, which has a strong track record in delivering practical, vocational training and equipping people with the skills required for successful employment.
“The Reading Community Trust aims to engage disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in our community in activities and projects that have a focus on health, education and sports participation. This partnership will support this as we reach out to more young people and engage them in the work of Reading Football Club at a grassroots level.”
Students on both programmes will benefit from using the gym and classroom space at Reading College, as well as the football club facilities at Reading FC. Teaching, coaching and mentoring will be provided by a mixture of Reading College and Reading FC personnel.
Helen Brind, Commercial Support Manager at Activate Learning, the organisation which runs Reading College, said: “We are committed to providing learners with a direct line of sight to employment. Working in partnership with organisations in key industry sectors offers learners highly motivating learning experiences and access to expertise and facilities that they just couldn’t get elsewhere.
“By working with the Community Trust at Reading Football Club we will be preparing young people from a range of backgrounds to enter the sport and leisure industry and develop skills that could lead to a traineeship, apprenticeship or university study.”