South Shields FC Foundation and Port of Tyne are delighted to announce a new partnership that will be a major boost to health and well-being in South Tyneside.

The Port will become the Foundation’s main activity partner, providing financial support for the creation of a diverse activity programme that will benefit local people of all ages.

The announcement is the latest development for the Foundation as it seeks to extend its community impact as part of the football club’s ambition to reach the Football League as a sustainable community club by 2023.

It comes on the back of its successful schools match day experience for Year 5 and Year 6 children – dubbed the class of ’23 – who will hopefully be supporting the club in the Football League – and a PHSE programme in schools.

This initiative with the Port of Tyne seeks to extend the club’s impact in terms of the contribution it makes beyond the 500 children it works with each week to include parents, grandparents, carers and supporters of all ages.

Steve Camm, Head of SSFC Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Port of Tyne, who share our vision of making a difference in the local community.

“The Port has been hugely supportive of what we are trying to do as a Foundation and their support will help us to grow our social and community impact significantly.

“When we talk about health and well-being we don’t just mean football and physical activity.

“There are many things that affect it too, including learning new skills or gaining a qualification, volunteering, participating in social activities, and taking an interest in what’s going on in the community.

“Football is important to us but it doesn’t appeal to everyone and it can’t tackle all of the health and well-being challenges we face.”

Graeme Hardie, Head of Operations at Port of Tyne, said: “We are really excited to be part of this project, which will deliver huge benefits to the local community.

“We hope that our support will enable the club to expand and improve the amazing work that the Foundation is doing in the heart of our operating area.”

There are two parts to the programme.

The first includes a new physical activity programme which includes parent and toddler and Under-5s activities at Westoe Crown Community Hub, a Futsal programme for parents and coaches at Temple Park Centre and a new development centre for young players at Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare.

The second part of the programme, which is being launched today, calls on parents, children and Foundation coaches, fans and supporters of South Shields FC and employees of the Port of Tyne to help us shape the remainder of the activity programme.

Steve added: “We want people to tell us about the activities they would be interested in adding to our activity programme.

“This might be a music lesson, a Spanish homework class, a Pilates session or a social group. This way we can be sure that we are responding to what people are interested in.

“In this way we can create a programme that adds to existing activities already delivered elsewhere in community settings rather than displacing them.

“It’s a different approach but we are confident that people will respond and participate.

“We call on you to respond to online polls and questions that will appear in the coming weeks to help us shape the activity programme with the aim of adding more programmes in the coming months.”

If you’d like to take part please email Foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk or watch out for posts on the club and Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

South Shields captain Jon Shaw swapped the pitch for the classroom as he starred in a South Tyneside school’s World Book Day celebrations.

Shaw read four books to reception class pupils at Monkton Infants School, in Simonside, South Shields, as he showed he is as adept with a book in his hands as with a ball at his feet.

The 35-year-old was joined by SSFC Foundation programme delivery lead Nathan Kew as they kept the children entertained through the power of reading.

Peppa Pig and The Paper Bag Princess were among the books Shaw read to the children as part of the initiative, which aims to promote reading among youngsters.

Shaw, who is a dad-of-two, said: “It’s a really important cause, and something I know a lot about with having two small children myself.

“Everybody should be reading to their children, and you hope that those we engaged with at Monkton will go home having enjoyed listening to someone read, and will ask their parents to do the same.

“From a club point of view, it’s fantastic because the children will hopefully go home and talk about South Shields.

“It shows another side to our club.

“We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented, community club and if we weren’t willing to go and do things like this, we wouldn’t be standing by what we believe in.”

The club and its foundation have visited schools across South Tyneside over recent months as part of several initiatives.

Kew is delivering a number of programmes in schools and nurseries, mainly centered around PE but with cross-curricular links too.

On the visit to Monkton, he said: “It was a really good morning for the children and ourselves.

“The initiatives that have arisen over the last three to five years are brilliant, because they show literacy as a fun, engaging subject which can be seen in a different light, particularly within Key Stage One.

“It’s important that we push that because it’s the development of the children in our area, which is only going to make better people and a better community.

“Our brand within the area is quite big because of how well the club is doing at the moment.

“It’s good that we use that to promote literacy, and we’re not hiding that’s what we’re doing sometimes in PE.

“We’re trying to create strong cross-curricular links to create better children and a better future for them through the power of sport.”

Click here for full details about the Foundation’s programmes across South Tyneside – including information on how your child can get involved.

Keen children are being given more opportunities than ever before to get involved in our exciting activity programmes led by SSFC Foundation.

As we move into the spring term, some of the Foundation’s weekly activities have been shuffled around and exciting new ones have also been introduced.

Each activity will be led by the Foundation’s qualified coaching wizards, who will deliver age appropriate games focusing on fun and enjoyment.

There has never been a better time for your child to get involved.

Here is our new activity timetable. Please get in touch by emailing foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk for more information.

THINKERS & MOVERS (from March 12) – BOOKING REQUIRED

This is a new multi-sport activity session delivered by the Foundation’s Programme Delivery Lead, Nathan Kew, indoors at Westoe Crown Community Hub in South Shields.

For parents with toddlers aged between 18 months and three years, the sessions will take place on Tuesdays between 3.15pm and 4pm, with a £4 booking required.

For those in reception and nursery (aged three to five), the sessions are on Tuesdays from 5pm to 6pm, with a £4 booking.

Please book by emailing foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

LET’S PLAY THURSDAY

This games-based activity session is aimed at children in school years three, four and five, and is delivered by first-team player Blair Adams and Foundation coaching wizard Zak Turner-Cooke.

It takes place between 4pm and 5pm on Thursdays on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park.

No booking is required for this session – it’s a £3 fee on a turn up and play basis.

LITTLE TRIX

Our bespoke fun and football programme for girls aged between five and 12 continues to go from strength to strength.

It takes place every Friday between 5pm and 6pm on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park.

These sessions are ideal for girls who have a keen interest in football and ejoyment.

Again, no booking is required. A £3 fee is charged on a turn up and play basis.

FUTURES ACADEMY – BOOKING REQUIRED

Year 6 and Year 7 children who would like to trial for a place in the club’s Futures Academy programme at Mortimer Community College are encouraged to attend these sessions.

They take place on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park between 6pm and 7.30pm every Friday.

Booking is required for these sessions. Please contact academy@southshieldsfc.co.uk for details.

FUTSAL FRIDAY (from March 8) – BOOKING REQUIRED

Futsal continues to grow in popularity and to recognise its importance, we are introducing a specialist programme for children in Year 4, 5 and 6.

Sessions will take place on Fridays between 6.30pm and 7.30pm at Temple Park Centre in South Shields.

Limited spaces are available on this programme so booking is required, at a cost of £4 a session.

Please email foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk to book.

SUPER SATURDAY (from March 9)

Our Saturday games-based development session for children in Year 1 and 2 who are looking to join teams is returning.

This replaces the existing Sunday session which has taken place at Mariners Park over recent months.

Super Saturday will take place on the 3G pitch at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare every Saturday between 12pm and 1pm.

No booking is required – this is a £3 turn up and play session.

For further details of Foundation programmes, please contact foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk