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@meetoo_helps A huge congratulations to you, @meetoo_helps, and your inspirational work supporting young people 👏

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Benton Park Disability Sessions Are 1st Class

Hundreds of disabled children in Northumberland are benefiting from specialist football coaching thanks to the continued partnership between Newcastle United Foundation and childcare specialists Kids 1st Nurseries.

The initiative is backed by family-run business, Kids 1st Nurseries, which provides award-winning childcare across the region, including two nurseries in Northumberland in Hexham and Wansbeck. In 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Kids 1st was named the ‘Highest Quality Childcare Provider in the UK’ by Nursery World.

The Foundation and Kids 1st partnership launched in 2013 and has already benefited children in over 45 special educational needs schools across Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside. Specialist coaching by the Foundation means children with a range of disabilities, including visual impairments, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities, can play and enjoy football, keep fit, make friends and have fun.

One of the schools taking part is Benton Park primary school, where they received a free six week block of sessions for deaf children. The sessions are so popular with the school, they have purchased weekly sessions up to July 2015.

There are 13 children attending the hour long sessions, who vary in ages and levels of hearing. As their hearing ranges from hard of hearing to profoundly deaf, the lead coach Mark Daglish uses a microphone attachment, so by connecting with their hearing aids, the children are able to communicate.

An interpreter was also present at the session who communicates the instructions from the coach. The session consisted of a fun tag warm up game then we pushed them a little more than normal with a passing drill in the middle then finishing with games.

Mark Daglish, Foundation Community Coach said:

“The children in the group are absolutely fab and are great to work with every week, the age difference does not show as the older ones are great with the younger ones, they work great together as a group and all the staff are really helpful and are very hands on every week.

“We have noticed that since the sessions began, how much the skill and the confidence of the children has grown.

“The children love the sessions so are looking forward to us going in to work with them after half term.”

Rachel Todd and Allison Winship from Kids 1st attended the school visit and were blown away by the sessions they saw.

Allison Winship, Head of childcare said:

 “It was a delight to visit the children at Benton Primary School to watch their football session with the Newcastle United Foundation. I was really impressed by both the session and the children’s engagement with the coaches and each other.”

For more information about our Disability Football programme, please contact

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