Reading FC’s Community Trust has been gifted the use of a free new minibus from club sponsors Select Car Leasing.

The Toyota Proace Verso vehicle will be put to good use, helping to inspire and support the lives of underprivileged youngsters across Reading.

Dave Evans, Manager of the Reading FC Community Trust, says the minibus is a symbol of all the incredible work taking place behind the scenes at the club.

The minibus will be utilised in a number of ways by the Trust - a registered charity offering a safe environment to care for, develop and educate the disadvantaged or at-risk young people within Reading and surrounding areas.

The vehicle will aid the Trust in its commitment to ‘Reading Alternative Provision’ (RAP), which supports children struggling with the school environment. The Trust takes participants to places like trampoline centres and skateparks, with a large percentage of such children coming from areas of deprivation.

The minibus will also ferry future football stars participating in the Trust’s 16-19 education provision to away fixtures.

Meanwhile the vehicle will also be driven to local police stations to talk to offenders, aged between 18 and 24, as part of a Thames Valley Police Violence Reduction Unit project. The idea is that by talking to the Trust, young adults can be inspired to find a path away from re-offending - whether it's through returning to education or exploring job opportunities.

The company have become popular with supporters as they have been financially supporting the club through the difficult 18-month off-field spell.

The Trust’s Manager Mr Evans says: “While some Reading FC fans might be focussed on what’s happening on the pitch, we want them to be really proud of the Community Trust, too. We see around 4,000 people on a weekly basis. We engage with participants from a range of diverse activities, which include alternative provision, we have after school clubs, youth centres, disability sessions, dementia cafe, friends of the elderly - you name it. It’s a huge operation that runs 24/7.

“Supporters can be assured that the Trust continues to work hard behind the scenes here at Reading FC. We sincerely thank Select Car Leasing for the minibus. It’s fantastic to know that Select always has our back for initiatives like this.”

Mark Tongue, joint CEO and founder of Select Car Leasing, said he’s delighted to be able to support the Trust in its charitable endeavours.

He added: “It’s no secret that Reading FC has hurdles to overcome. But in the Community Trust, supporters of the club have something to truly cherish - a charity that goes above and beyond to give something back to the local area.

"Select Car Leasing has been the Principal Partner of Reading F.C since 2021 and we’ve always been struck by the Trust’s achievements. We've long provided financial support to the Trust so that it can offer healthy meals and fun activities at free school holiday camps throughout the year.

"And we’re delighted to now support Dave and his team with this new bus, as we know it will be put to great use.”

The Reading FC Community Trust operates separately and independently from the club itself, and has its own governance and finances.

It means the Trust, which has around 40 members of staff, has also just opened a brand new hub at the South Reading Leisure Centre in Whitley.

The new premises represent an initial £400,000 investment by the Trust, which will then also pay around £8,000 a year as part of a long-term 21-year lease.

Young people can take advantage of the centre’s function rooms, indoor sports courts, and outdoor 3G pitches.

As part of Select Car Leasing’s ongoing support of the Trust, a suite in the South Reading Leisure Centre has also been named in the firm’s honour.