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Newcastle United Foundation Ambassador Sean Longstaff meets inspired young students

Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff has spent time giving back to a charity close to his heart by getting to know students supported by Newcastle United Foundation.

 The humble local hero made a surprise visit to North Gosforth Academy in North Tyneside where he met with young men and women working with the Magpies’ official charity in the classroom and the sports hall.

Longstaff was there to learn more about Premier League Inspires, a community project using the power of football to inspire children and young people to realise their potential.

Newcastle United Foundation coaching staff engage with small groups of children ages 11 to 13 who are at risk of not making a successful transition from primary to secondary school.

Dozens of pupils were thrilled to have a special guest at their latest PL Inspires session, which saw students take part in a team-building activity in class before taking on handball, memory games and a penalty shootout with a blindfold and sensory ball to mimic the challenges of visual-impairment.

Longstaff, who is an official Ambassador for the Foundation, said: “I still think it’s pretty crazy that I can walk into a room and there’s a load of kids who know who I am and they’re so happy to see us.

“It puts a smile on my face when I can come here and brighten up a few kids’ days.

“The work the Foundation do in the community is amazing and I’m always happy to get involved.”

The Foundation’s delivery of PL Inspires caught the attention of BBC Match of the Day, with a film crew making the journey from MediaCityUK in Salford to join Project Officer Adam Clark and Project Coordinator Gavin Ferry.

When asked by MOTD how Longstaff came to be a Foundation Ambassador, he said: “I saw in the matchday programme that the charity had been helping my next-door neighbour out who unfortunately was diagnosed with cancer.

“I saw the work they’d done with him and I jumped at the chance to get involved. I’ve seen the great they do in the schools and the community and with the kids and if I can give a little back too, it’s amazing.”

North Gosforth Academy, part of the Gosforth Federated Academies, is one of 11 schools the Foundation works with across Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and North Tyneside.

Graham Findlay, Assistant Head Teacher at North Gosforth Academy, said: “It’s a great connection that the club brand and the badge have with the city – everyone will tell you it’s a one football club city.

“To build that kind of connection early in school here with the younger children, they can take all of that confidence that they gain from it and go on to thrive throughout the rest of time they have with us.”

North Gosforth Academy has reported students engaged with the project have improved physical and mental wellbeing, are inspired and engaged and have developed their skills, knowledge and self-esteem.

The Foundation’s school programmes bring the curriculum to life for pupils aged four to 18. Each programme uses the passion for football and brand of Newcastle United to engage with pupils across a number of curriculum areas including PE, PSHE, literacy and numeracy.

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