Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending the Ten Year Anniversary of the Newcastle United Foundation at the House of Lords. Lord Jeremy Beecham, previously the Leader of Newcastle City Council and still a season ticket holder at St. James’ Park invited me on behalf of Newcastle United Supporters Trust.
As you’d expect security was high getting into the venue but once inside there was a room full of people interested in what happens at Newcastle United and some who were doing great work in the local community on behalf of the Foundation.
The event was hosted by Lord Beecham, with Jonathan Edwards, from the world of athletics, performing the role of Master of Ceremonies.
A number of high profile guests were in attendance including representatives from the Premier League, Lee Charnley and Bob Moncur from the club and Foundation Trustees, and Patrons Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi who both spoke about the work of the Foundation.
They best speeches were by Foundation project participants Ally, Silke, and Chloe – who have been supported by the Community, Employability, and Disability programmes- who told their stories about how Newcastle United Foundation has positively affected their lives.
The event celebrated a decade since the Foundation began helping disadvantaged young people in the North East – raising more than £13.5 million in 10 years.
Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: ‘For the last ten years the Foundation have been using football as a means to touch the lives of thousands of participants who benefit from our projects.’
‘Last year alone more than 50,000 people were directly impacted by one of our programmes. This event is a celebration of how far we have come, but it’s also a chance to reflect on our plans for the future and how we can continue to help more people in our region.’
The Trust has been campaigning for some time for Newcastle United to promote itself as a “Community Club”. By this we mean :
a club that will work with supporters on fans issues and will recognize their value as the long term custodians of the club, a club that will work with our MPs, the city council and local businesses to play its part in regenerating our area rather than simply billboarding a national sports retailer,a club that will work with local football clubs and schools to develop local talent and keep that talent in the North East, a club that says we can compete, we will compete, we don’t reward mediocrity, we strive for excellence and to be the best we can be in everything we do.
We think the work being done by the Foundation demonstrates a real commitment to strengthening the links between the club and the Tyneside community. Check out some of the great work done by the Foundation here https://nufoundation.org.uk/