South Shields FC Foundation is delighted to confirm the details of an exciting new partnership with Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare.
It will see the two charities collaborating to secure the future of the Welfare and create an opportunity to grow and extend the community impact of both organisations, which share the same objective of improving the health and well-being of the local community.
John Watson, Chair of Trustees at Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare, said: “We approached the football club a number of months ago to explore the possibility of working together to secure the future of the facility.
“We looked at a number of options and an agreement has now been reached, with the blessing of the Charity Commission, for the Miners Welfare and South Shields FC Foundation to work together to secure the future of the Welfare.”
In July, South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson, club managing director Keith Finnigan and the Head of SSFC Foundation, Steve Camm, were invited to join the board of trustees of the Miners Welfare to work alongside the existing group of dedicated volunteers.
The Foundation will now offer its support to the day-to-day operational management of the site with a particular focus on increasing its financial viability.
Steve Camm, Head of SSFC Foundation, said: “Harton Welfare is a brilliant facility that at one time was a thriving hub of community activity and participation.
“Our shared vision is to stabilise the financial position and restore the site to a multi-sport centre of excellence with wider participation by people of all ages in activities that support their health and well-being.
“That might be sport and fitness, learning a new skill, volunteering, social interaction or taking an interest in what’s going on in the community.”
With the South Shields FC first-team and academy now hiring the ground for training purposes alongside the Foundation’s junior football teams and community programmes, the usage of the site has already increased.
The Welfare is also the home of Simonside Bowling Club, Whiteleas Cricket Club, South Shields FC Ladies, South Shields Over-40s and Veterans, Harton and Westoe Barca U12s and Westoe Brass Band. It also has function rooms and meeting spaces for hire.
Steve added: “I am very optimistic about the future and believe that together the Miners Welfare and the Foundation have the potential to deliver the vision.
“The other night we had the first-team training, a bowls match, cricket nets, junior football on the 3G pitch, people in the boxing gym and the brass band playing in the car park! That’s definitely multi-activity, multi-age participation. But, that was just one night.
“The challenge now is to make that level of activity happen each night with a broad programme of activities that respond to the needs of local people.
“We need people to use the bars and function rooms, participate in the events and activities programme and work with us to identify new activities that people would like to see happening.”
The Foundation and Miners Welfare are currently seeking investment to refurbish the facilities to create a family-friendly café/bar downstairs and an activity space/function room upstairs.
For more information, please contact Foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk