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Foundation And Burnley FC In The Community Target Social Isolation In New Pen Pals Project

Newcastle United Foundation has joined forces with Burnley FC in the Community (BFCitC) as their new joint Pen Pals Project gets underway with the groups’ first meeting at Turf Moor.

After an early Saturday start, three young people from Newcastle travelled down to Burnley to meet their pen pals. On arrival they traded gifts with their Burnley counterparts before heading to the Game Zone inside Turf Moor to get to know each other over a few friendly games of FIFA.

As kick off approached they headed pitch side for a few photographs before taking in Burnley’s Premier League clash against Chelsea. Despite the result, the match was a fantastic opportunity for the young people to bond as they shared their mutual love for football.

The group discussed social action project ideas in a meeting ahead of the Chelsea match, with a focus on positive community initiatives including the Burnley Community Kitchen and opportunities in Newcastle. These ideas will then be brought to life by the participants in the New Year.

In February 2019, participants from BFCitC will visit Newcastle United Foundation in a return trip to see their respective community.

Funded by Children in Need, the initiative aims to link up young people from both areas in a bid to reduce social isolation, develop new friendships, and give participants the opportunity to learn how to build and sustain positive relationships.

Participants will keep in regular contact with each other through writing, video communications, and face to face meetings – as well as working together towards a social action project in their respective communities.

Jacqueline Critchley, Project Coordinator at Newcastle United Foundation, said “It was a truly unique experience for the young people, who all got on brilliantly!

“This project is a really key aspect of our wider Youth Violence programmes and will go a long way in improving our engagement with younger people in the region.

We would like to thank Burnley in the Community for hosting such a great day out for the young people, and we look forward to welcoming them to St James Park in February. In the mean-time the young people will continue to keep in touch via video content and we hope their next meet up will prove just as successful.”

Michael Colquhoun, BFCitC’s Youth Crime Reduction Manager, said: “We were delighted to host Newcastle United Foundation’s participants and staff as part of this unique link-up. The project has been a real success so far and participants on both sides are enjoying getting to know each other and building new friendships.

“On top of the relationships being built, it’s given the participants something to focus on which has raised their aspirations, their self-belief and broadened their horizons. We have seen a positive impact so far.

“We are looking forward to visiting Newcastle in February. It will give the young people we are working with a worthwhile experience where they can see a different community and city.”

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