Select funds kit for grassroots football clubs - Select Car Leasing
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Select funds kit for grassroots football clubs

Dozens of free kits have been gifted to grassroots football clubs in the Thames Valley region, thanks to donations from local firm Select Car Leasing.


(Under 13s team from Centre Skills FC, Reading)


Working with an organisation called ‘Grassroots FA’ led by founder Gary Small, youth soccer sides who might benefit from additional support were identified.

And now Select and Grassroots FA have handed-out full kits to seven different teams across the region, saving cash-strapped clubs from having to source funding for the garments themselves.

One other team has been handed the funds to equip a youth side with vital rain jackets as we head into the Autumn and Winter seasons.

One recipient of the kits is an Under 7s side at South Reading F.C (below), a club based in Whitley Wood, which sits a stone’s throw from the Select Car Leasing HQ.

Chris Evans is manager of the youngsters, and has thanked Select for helping them out as the season got underway.

He said:

“We have two Under 7s teams this year and the kit kindly donated by Select Car Leasing has gone to those two sides. Our motto is ‘football for all’. We’ll take any player who wants to play and we aim to make it as affordable as possible. So to have grassroots support from Select, really giving something back to the community, is absolutely amazing for us.”

Chris, a Financial Controller for a law firm by day, has been involved with South Reading F.C for almost 18 years, and adds:

“The savings we’ve made on paying for the kit can now be passed down to the parents.”


Another recipient of the free kits from Select is the Under 7s squad from Taplow United FC, located in Buckinghamshire.

Taplow Chairman Paul Holt says the kits will help to install a sense of ‘belonging’ and ‘pride’ in the youngsters.

He adds: 

“We’ve got 17 teams here at Taplow United, from adults all the way down to the ‘munchkins’. And the kit from Select will go to our new entry team of Under 7s. It means the kids can come in, really enjoy their football, and experience a sense of pride and belonging.
With their official uniform, they’ll all feel part of the club and part of the team immediately. It also eases the financial burden on parents, who are already having to find membership fees. As a club, we’re all about inclusivity, not exclusivity, and welcoming everyone. The kit helps us to achieve that aim. And when the current batch of Under 7s has finished with it, the kit will be passed down to the next group of youngsters.”

Free kit has also gone to a group of Under 7s at Shinfield Rangers FC (below), located in south Reading.


Ray Barclay, Chairman of the Club, also thanked Select and Grassroots FA for the donation.

Ray, who says their squads play in either the East Berks Football Alliance (EBFA) or the Berkshire County Girls Football League (BCGFL), adds:

“The kit donation means an awful lot to us, it really does. We’re a not-for-profit club trying to do our best for the community. It’s a struggle. People are worried about their finances. And kits are expensive. Kits are, to me, also the lifeblood of the team. The kids can’t play matches without it. So, any help we can get is always welcome. We really appreciate the sponsorship.”

Other local teams who have received free kits are Centre Skills FC (Reading), GiveBack FC (Reading), Theale Tigers FC (West Berks), Winnersh Rangers FC (Wokingham) and Burnham FC (Bucks).

The Grassroots Football Association was launched this year in order to ‘provide a better environment for grassroots football’, according to creator Gary Small.


It’s a networking group which connects companies and organisations with football clubs to build relationships and so that, ultimately, teams can get the support they need.

The Grassroots FA network extends to all three local football leagues for young players - the Berkshire Youth Development League (BYDL), Reading and West Berks League (RWBL) and the East Berks Football Alliance (EBFA). It also liaises with the charitable arm of Reading F.C - The Community Trust.

Gary himself began as a coach for Centre Skills Football Club, located in Tilehurst, Reading, back in 2014.

And he’s passionate about giving something back to youngsters who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and find it financially challenging to play football.

He reveals: 

“There are 33,000 kids playing across the three leagues in the local area. At present, we can’t reach and support all of those youngsters. But what we can do is to start by targeting the disadvantaged clubs and make sure we try to provide some useful benefits to them, such as kits.

There are a great many clubs operating amidst real financial constraints and there’s obviously a cash burden on families who are living through a cost of living crisis. There’s not enough kit, goals are expensive, and pitch fees can be pricey. There’s also a shortage of referees and officials as retention is a real issue. Clubs also often need to find considerable amounts of money to operate a mini-bus for away matches.

By opening-up channels of communication, by asking businesses for sponsorship or investment, and by finding ways to keep costs down through commercial collaboration, we aim to support as many grassroots teams as we can."

“It’s about providing access to football for all - not just those who can afford it.”


The Grassroots FA will also be offering; free training courses for grassroots coaches and managers, as well as a fantastic ‘football festival’ in 2023 for some lucky youth teams working in collaboration with the Reading F.C’s Academy team at Bearwood Park.

Gary adds: "Grassroots FA, in conjunction with Reading F.C Academy, will be staging a ‘football festival’ for a selection of Under 7’s and Under 8’s teams to play on the 3G pitch and to enjoy the Bearwood Park experience. This is planned for February 2023. 

"We hope it will be a really fun day, but also an opportunity to potentially identify players for their pre-academy. There will be medals and a trophy to cap the day off."

** If you are in a position to support a grassroots team, offer sponsorship &/or opportunities to youth teams, please contact Gary Small at Grassroots Football Association, by email on gsmall@grassrootsfa.org.


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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024