Reading Football Club have joined forces with Wickes – an official partner of the EFL – giving young locals the opportunity to boost trade skills and gain an accreditation by refurbishing Berkshire-based Laurel Park FC's clubhouse, along with social enterprise VIY (Volunteer It Yourself).
The renovation project comes after Laurel Park FC became the victim of an email scam, which saw it lose thousands of pounds in funds.
Thanks to a partnership between Wickes and the EFL, which enables all 72 EFL clubs to access credit for community projects and refurbishments, Reading and VIY are helping to lift team spirits by refreshing the football team’s clubhouse.
Wickes will also be donating five sets of Mitre branded football kit packages to the club, which include five full team kits, training bibs, footballs and training cones.
Royals' captain Paul McShane was among the volunteers, boosting DIY skills by carrying out renovation work, including replacing guttering and downpipes, repairing and repainting external doors, and undertaking internal painting and decorating jobs.
This work is being carried out in association with VIY, which enables young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and building skills by fixing local community buildings. The Reading Wickes store will be donating all of the materials required for the project free of charge, with Wickes also supporting the involvement of local professional tradespeople who will serve as mentors for the young volunteers. Wickes colleagues will also attend the project to further help support it.
This venture will enable local young people to learn valuable trade skills whilst helping their area to transform the Laurel Park FC clubhouse into a refreshed, renovated space for players. Taking part in this project will also help open doors for young people and assist them in finding apprenticeship and job opportunities, thanks to their newly gained qualification.
Dara Thomas, Head of Marketing at Reading said: “We’re delighted to be helping Laurel Park after such a terrible incident and we’re very excited to be collaborating with Wickes and VIY on this renovation project.
“We recognise our role within the community and it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together and help out a local team. The project will also enable young people to gain an accreditation and learn valuable skills to improve their employability which is a fantastic bonus.”
Jessica O’Keefe, Store Manager at Wickes in Reading said: “We’re delighted that we are able to help the Laurel Park FC project by ensuring that the volunteers have all the materials and tools they need to complete the renovation.
“It’s great to be involved in such a worthwhile project, which gets young people excited and engaged whilst teaching them useful skills for the future.”