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‘Life-changing’ Newcastle United Foundation disability football sessions given funding boost to support more young players

More than 2,700 disabled children and young people can enjoy specialist sports sessions and socialising safely with teammates and friends thanks to a generous donation to Newcastle United Foundation.

After learning of the positive impact dedicated disability football sessions have on young people across the North East, the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation were pleased to make a substantial contribution to ensure sports remain accessible for everyone.

The St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation is the philanthropic arm of St. James’s Place Wealth Management – a leading UK wealth management company.

The group’s charity arm has raised and distributed more than £100 million for thousands of charities since 1992, enriching the lives of children and young people who have special needs through illness, disability or mental health issues.

Their latest grant will support Newcastle United Foundation’s Football For All initiative – helping disabled people under 25 to boost their confidence, communication skills, mobility and fitness through football.

The official charity arm of the Magpies currently runs weekly training sessions at 11 different venues from Hexham to Newcastle for children and adults signed up to Amputee, Blind, Cerebral Palsy, Deaf, Down’s Syndrome, Frame, Pan-Disability, Partially-Sighted and Powerchair squads.

Matthew is one young man who has been attending cerebral palsy football sessions with the Foundation since he was seven-years-old. Now, eight years on, he says his training sessions are something he always looks forward to.

“I used to have to hold someone’s hand to keep my balance in order to kick a ball,” he said. “I have come a long way since those days and Wednesday’s are the highlight of my week.

“I sometimes feel isolated, but coming to the sessions I get to meet other children like me.”

Alongside weekly training sessions, St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation will help fund provision in 42 Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools across the North East, benefitting a further 500 disabled children.

Elaine Flynn, Partnerships Coordinator at Newcastle United Foundation, said: “The generosity of St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation will go a long way to help improve and transform the lives of disabled children and young people who we work with each week.

“For so many families across the North East, specialist sports coaching is hard to come by and we are proud to offer regular and safe sessions to players of all ages and abilities at venues around the region.

“We are incredibly proud to be working with St. James’ Place Charitable Foundation and to be giving more children and young adults the chance to meet new people, learn, have fun and play sport together.”

The Foundation also plans to organise a series of one-day competitions and fixtures for up to 500 SEN and young adults with disabilities which are impairment-specific.

Mark Beverley, representative of the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation in the North East, said: “We are delighted to be working with Newcastle United Foundation and to help support the delivery of their programme to children and young adults across the region.

“Sport plays a significant part in helping with mental health as well as physical wellbeing and this has never been more important.”

For more information on free disability football for children and adults

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