An ambitious scheme led by Newcastle United Foundation, to transform the way young people transition from education to career, will receive a £2.6m grant – thanks to North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).
NTCA agreed to the investment in ‘NU Futures’, which includes the provision of a state-of-the-art facility for young people.
Members of the Authority’s Cabinet, chaired by newly elected Mayor Jamie Driscoll, approved the grant for the NU Futures project at a meeting on 26 September.
The investment will be a massive boost for NU Futures, which supports an extensive outreach programme delivered by the Newcastle United charity, targeting thousands of school children plus hundreds of young people not in education, employment and training across North of Tyne. It will also support the redevelopment of Murray House, which will be used as a focal point for this activity.
The Foundation has committed to delivering extra support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them on their journey towards future careers. The programme will also see additional support to young adults who are furthest from the jobs market through mentoring, personal development and regular interactions with local employers.
Newcastle United Foundation has a 10-year track record of delivering award- winning, life-changing community projects. A recent independent EY report calculated that the charity generated £22.5m in community value in 2017/18 – an impressive ratio of £7 in social impact for every £1 invested demonstrating value for money for the North of Tyne investment. In February this year the Foundation acquired Murray House – a community centre located just a goal-kick away from St. James’ Park. The building, once a thriving hub for young people, including former Newcastle Striker Shola Ameobi, now stands empty.
Now a patron of Newcastle United Foundation, Shola explained how important the grant from North of Tyne Combined Authority is:
“Murray House was such a big part of my life growing up. Football can change lives and I am delighted that the Foundation will now be able to bring this important community centre back to life for a new generation, providing sporting, education and employability programmes.”
Mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Jamie Driscoll, said:
“Newcastle United has a way of reaching kids so it is great to be working with their Foundation. No one wants a future where young people are missing out on job opportunities because education hasn’t worked for them.
“The ability to support a project like this shows the benefits of devolution and shows what local leaders can achieve when they have the powers out of Whitehall so that we can make use of local knowledge. “
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “Today we’re backing the Newcastle United Foundation to back our young adults and transform lives.
“This is about supporting the Foundation to reach those people who feel left behind and saying actually in our region everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
“I’m delighted be working with the Foundation to ensure there is always a route to success in Newcastle and the North of Tyne area.”
NTCA cabinet member for education improvement Cllr Wayne Daley said: “This is going to benefit thousands of young people across the North of Tyne area.
“It will inspire their future career pathways, including hundreds of young people who are currently not in education, training or employment.
“It’s an amazing, inspiring, innovative project that will help shape and frame the careers of young people for years to come.”
The funding from North of Tyne provides a major boost to the Foundation’s fundraising campaign. With more than half of the target already secure after founding donations from the Sir James’ Knott Trust, David Harrison Centre for Social Mobility and the UEFA Foundation, the Foundation is hoping other funders and partners will now come forward to close the gap so the project can get underway.
The new centre will mean the Magpie’s charity will have a new operational base to build on its growing work across North of Tyne with the aim of helping more people be more active, learn, become more employable and improve health and wellbeing.
John Marshall, chair of Trustees at the Foundation said:
“We are delighted that North of Tyne Combined Authority has approved this grant. We now move one step closer to making this ambitious project a reality. We are appealing to other funders to join us and create a legacy for generations to come.”
To find out more about the project and how you can support it visit nufoundation.org.uk/teamup.