Reading FC: Community Trust plea for donations to save the girl’s pathway

Emma Hopkins and Reading U14's JPL Warriors Cup

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Emma Hopkins, Emerging Talent Lead, and Chris Berry, Player Development Lead & Funded Programmes Officer are working tirelessly to bring the U16’s and U14’s girls teams at Reading under the banner of the Community Trust in a bid to keep the pathway alive as the First Team drops down to Tier 5 and they’re set to lose their Professional Game Academy status and in turn the U21’s squad.

Emma herself coached the U14’s team to success on the pitch as they clinched the Junior Premier League Warriors Cup.

We spoke to her and asked her what the pathway means to her, “Having worked in various roles within the girls’ pathway for over 8 years now, the recent news that the club is unable to financially support Reading Women FC and the girls age groups has been devastating. So many good people have worked incredibly hard over the years to build a hugely successful environment to nurture young female talent. This was highlighted last season with the U21’s winning the double and the U14’s JPL cup success.”

The Community Trust released the following statement on social media on the 9th of July:

Why was the initiative set up?

We caught up with Chris on why the Trust has set up the iniative, “The women’s pathway is something that we have a lot of pride in – many years ago it started in the Trust, we are in a good position to keep the legacy in tact, build for the future and most importantly give the extremely talented and successful athletes the opportunity to continue their development.”

He also added on what he was hoping will happen as a result of the donation page, “We are immensely grateful to anyone who is able and willing to donate to us – we aren’t expecting to be able to fund the entire project through donations, but it enables us to demonstrate that there is a desire amongst the fans to keep the women’s pathway going and hopefully inspire corporate sponsorship to get involved and help us build a sustainable, long term approach.”

We also asked Emma what she was hoping the outcome of the donation page would be, “Reading FC Community Trust are working tirelessly to try and find a solution and we would be very grateful for any donations to support this cause, it is imperative we keep the pathway alive for girls in the Reading area. Any money donated would help considerably towards facility hire costs, coaches and kit/equipment to keep the age groups going for the 2024-25 season.”

How to donate

The Trust are hoping the good will of the club supporters and wider public will donate to save the pathway by heading to their JustGiving page here and using the reference ‘RFC Girls Football’ in donations. Meanwhile, corporate sponsorship can email sbradley@readingfc.co.uk by referencing RFC Girls Football).

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