Two north-east football community programmes combined to spread Christmas cheer and joy to the Children’s wards of two major North-East hospitals on Friday.
MFC Foundation and Newcastle United Foundation teamed up this past week to deliver presents to deserving children at the RVI Hospital in Newcastle, and James Cook Infirmary in Middlesbrough, as part of the Premier League Works programme.
Premier League Works uses the power of football clubs and the Premier League to engage young people who are not involved in education, training or employment.
The programme, delivered in partnership with the Professional Footballers Association and the Prince’s Trust provides young people with support to develop their personal and social skills giving them the confidence and the experience they need to make a positive transition back into education, access training or gain meaningful employment.
The two groups have been working together for the past few months, taking it in turns to visit one another’s communities, and taking part in a number of both fun and beneficial team-building activities.
With the young people approaching the ‘social action’ section of the programme, both parties were in full agreement of taking their partnership to the next level by directly benefiting each other’s local area.
They raised money by competing in a sponsored Newcastle United Foundation v MFC Foundation Bubble Football Match, which took place on Tyneside, as well as sourcing donations of toys from staff, friends, family and local businesses.
On Friday, both groups set off from home, and met up at the iconic Angel of the North to share out their proceeds, pass on a few good luck messages, and pose for a few photos.
From there, the teams parted and made their way to the hospitals, as they delighted staff and patients alike, with Roary the Lion even joining the group at the RVI.
“Both PL Works groups have showed a great attitude in working together to do something positive in their local community,” said MFC Foundation’s PL Works Coordinator, Marc McPhillips.
“It has been great to see them develop their own knowledge and skills in order to deliver a project that is so worthwhile.
“Giving their time as well as gifts to children that unfortunately find themselves in hospital is something quite inspiring.”
Newcastle United Foundation’s PL Works Coordinator Dan Hancock added: “The visits were truly excellent. It shows a really strong representation of the region by two local clubs working together to support one another’s areas.”
Rob Crozier, 23, Hartlepool, has been on the programme for a couple of months now, and is already feeling the love of putting in the hours for those who need it.
“I am really passionate about the great work that happens in all our hospitals in the North East.
“Having an opportunity to give something back to a service that helps so many people has been really good. I hope that the gifts we have provided make a difference to the children at each hospital.”