READING FC Community Trust received almost £10,000 from the National Lottery as part of their £1.1 million scheme in Berkshire.

The money, raised by players for good causes, is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

In total, 23 community projects in Berkshire are receiving a share.

Reading FC Community Trust received just under £10k to deliver weekly sports sessions for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Newbury who may be at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and crime.

Reading FC Kicks will offer attendees access to opportunities such as qualifications, training, education and additional rewards and incentives to encourage positive grow and development.

By inviting young people from different postcodes in the area and delivering free sessions, Reading FC Kicks will build a strong and connected community open to all, offering young people the opportunity to socialise and develop friendships with people they may not otherwise have met. The project also aims to reduce health inequalities in the area and increase people’s awareness of the importance of physical activity, and will offer advice on topics including healthy lifestyles, positive physical and mental wellbeing, diet and nutrition.

The sessions will also be attended by local police and health experts, helping to break down barriers between local young people and local services.

Paul Brown, Premier League Kicks Reading Coordinator, said: “It is great to be able to sustain, with help from the National Lottery, the successful Kicks project in Newbury.

"The project provides young people, aged 11 to 19 years old, with a safe and structured opportunity to engage with free football sessions.

"The project helps to bring young people from all backgrounds and cultures together and this will help strengthen the communities we work in both the short and long term.

"The project has had great success in engaging hard-to-reach young people, with huge numbers of participants taking part in the Kicks provision over the years and we are looking forward to providing these opportunities to young people living in the Newbury area.”

Skills and Confidence to Resist Drugs is another project in Newbury to receive National Lottery funding in the past three months.

Delivered by the Community Youth Project, the project will use its grant of just over £5k to empower vulnerable young people in Newbury to make their own decisions in life and shape their own futures by delivering a series of educational workshops.

These will include the physical and mental effects of various drugs, as well as how it affects the community and their families.

The project will also run adventurous, adrenaline-fuelled activities to give people the chance to experience risk, adventure and adrenaline as a positive alternative to illegal drug use and its negative outcomes.

Matthew Wonnacott, Administrator and Youth Support Worker at Community Youth project said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to deliver an early intervention into the lives of young people who are at the highest risk of falling into the dark and dangerous world of drug addiction.”

These two youth projects in the county are part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to supporting youth-based activity.

The Fund is the UK’s largest funder of youth-based activity and has awarded over £170 million since 2017 to projects that support young people.

Elly De Decker, Joint Head of Funding for Southern region at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “When people work together, good things happen. Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support an exciting range of organisations and projects delivering the activities they want to see in their communities.

"Many of the projects we have funded this quarter are focussed on bringing those communities together and enabling people to make new connections.

"With their ideas, knowledge and passion, this money changes lives.”

The total pot being made available to groups across England this quarter is £58 million.