Budding footballers from Byker enjoyed a televised training sessions with two of their footballing heroes.
Twenty children from the Byker Estate traded passes with striker Demba Ba aYohan Cabaye uas well as NUFC Foundation community coach Robbie Welch.
The session was Byker Community Trust board member Nick Kemp’s idea, and part of the celebrations marking the transfer of the estate’s 1,800 homes from Newcastle City Council to the trust.
Children from Byker Primary School and St Lawrence’s RC Primary School took part in the training session at the estate’s Ayton Park.
Kyle Gallon, nine, from Byker Primary, said: “It’s been amazing. I didn’t know any players were coming today – we just thought it was coaches. Demba laid one off for me and I scored - awesome!”
And fellow pupil Joe Barrass, seven, plays for Heaton Hawks and is also in Newcastle United’s Academy. He said: “It’s been really good – I’d love to play for Newcastle when I grow up.”
– Striker Demba Ba, Newcastle United
"This is a fantastic scheme Byker have and we were delighted to come along today to support their work. Passing on a few coaching tips is always a pleasure and I hope they continue to develop as players, and good people too.”
Nick Kemp, a local city councillor, said: “I approached Newcastle United when we were looking for ways to celebrate the launch of the Trust, and we’re very grateful the players and coaches agreed to come along today. If you look at the multicultural make-up of Byker, a big unifier on the estate is football.”
Jill Haley, Chief Officer of Byker Community Trust, added: “The Trust is committed to investing over £24.5m in the estate in the next five years, the consequences of which could be life changing for Byker and its residents.
“But as we have demonstrated today, it isn’t just about bricks and mortar - we want to do things differently and involving the whole community. The young people involved in today’s event are the lifeblood of this estate.”