Date published: 17/12/2014
Girls from John Spence Community High School in North Shields represented Newcastle United Foundation against Biddick College in Sunderland in a 7v7 football match.
The game was organised as part of the Premier League Girls Football programme and Building Bridges supported by Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner in the build-up to this week’s Tyne & Wear Derby at St James’ Park. The match was played on John Spence’s new state-of-the-art 3G pitch, which opened earlier this year following a £242,536 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is expertly delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 13,000 grants worth more than £510m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £720m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Much of the Football Foundation’s investment has helped strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country as evidenced by the recent girl’s derby match at John Spence Community High School.
Vera Baird has lent her support to the initiative: “I’m a huge supporter of the work of Newcastle United Foundation and the Foundation of Light and I’m delighted their work is encouraging more girls to play football.
“It offers a great opportunity and I’ve no doubt some of the girls will now be taking more interest in playing football. The training sessions may have created a future member of Newcastle United or Sunderland Women’s Football team.”
The girls are all aged 13 to 16 years old and attend a weekly football club at their school, thanks to funding from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. None of the girls had played football before joining the programme in September 2014 and are improving week on week.
Marc Burnip PE teacher from John Spence Community High School said: "It is a great honour for our girls to represent Newcastle United in the Tyne and Wear derby fixture against Sunderland. The girls are extremely happy to be wearing the famous black and white stripes and I am very proud of them. I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Liam from Newcastle United Foundation who has been delivering the weekly girls only football sessions."
Shelly Brogden who attends John Spence and played in the game said: “It was great to play against Sunderland, the weather was awful but everyone gave 100% and enjoyed the occasion.”
Lisa Bell project coordinator at the Foundation added: “The game was played in a great spirit with both teams embracing the occasion in the build up to the Tyne & Wear Derby.”