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South Shields Football Club, also known as the Mariners, is delighted to be working with the Port of Tyne in new partnership that will be a major boost to health and wellbeing in South Tyneside.
The Port will become South Shields Football Club 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 Mariners 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 wellbeing 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 wellbeing challenges we face."
Graeme Hardie, Head of Operations, 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 Miners Welfare.
The second part of the programme, which is being launched today [6 APRIL] 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 Pilate’s 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 postings on the Club and Foundation's Twitter and Facebook accounts.