Shortlist candidate Newcastle United Foundation

28 October 2022

Shortlist candidate Newcastle United Foundation

Football gets through to people and Newcastle United Foundation use it to connect, engage and inspire in ways that others simply cannot. They coach, mentor, educate and provide opportunities to communities that truly need them, reaching over 58,000 people each year across Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland through a wide range of sporting, education and health programmes.

The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) is proud to present Newcastle United Foundation and its project “NUCASTLE – Building a United Future”, which has been selected for the shortlist of the More than Football Award 2022. Newcastle United Foundation made it to the ‘final four’. The winner receives not only recognition for having implemented the most innovative and impactful Community and Social Responsibility programme in European football, but also wins a complete branded Mini-Pitch System modular sports solution which will be developed in partnership between the winning organisation, EFDN, and sponsor Musco Lighting.

Newcastle United Foundation was established in 2007 as a response to the local needs and challenges and uses the passion for Newcastle United to motivate and inspire people to be more active, learn new skills, be more employable and to reach their potential. They support over 64,000 people annually. 

NUCASTLE is an historic project for Newcastle United Foundation and prospective partners like Football Foundation and Newcastle Building Society who have played a crucial role in making it happen. It is not just about bricks and mortar; it is about transforming lives, giving a community a new lease of life and changing it for the better, forever. By bringing this unused community centre back into use, NUCASTLE is now a vibrant, state-of-the-art hub for sport, education and wellbeing, with programmes delivered by an award-winning Foundation team and partners.  

NUCASTLE sits on the site of the Murray House Recreational Centre just to the west of Newcastle city centre, 0.4 miles from St James’ Park which is the home of NUFC and was the base for the Foundation. The site was originally used to provide training opportunities for men and boys as shipbuilding declined in the 1930s and was rebuilt in the 1970s to serve a disadvantaged west end community once again. They built on this history and created a new community hub to increase the Foundation’s impact and to deliver positive outcomes for funders, investors and commissioners. They have created an £8 million flagship venue for the Foundation’s specialist youth provision, for disability football, support outreach into schools, meet unmet demand for other activities in the city and created a catalyst for wider regeneration in a deprived neighbourhood. The number of people helped by the Foundation will now increase to over 100,000 by 2023.

NUCASTLE officially opened following a special event welcoming the community to the centre on Tuesday 29 March. The £8m project received a £2m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation. Around 300 guests including Foundation patrons, trustees, partners, funders, and participants joined celebrations at the community hub alongside Newcastle United first team head coach Eddie Howe and club captain Jamaal Lascelles. 

The project was funded by 22 key partners from across the region. Of the £8m it took to build the NUCASTLE, 95% was spent within 40 miles of Newcastle, and 50% within five miles of NUCASTLE. A real success story for economic and social value for the North East. 

As well as the rooftop pitch, NUCASTLE houses an E-Sports room, cycling studio, workout and fitness suite, sports hall and meeting and event spaces – all of which the community can use through the Foundation. There are also state-of-the-art IT facilities and a specialist STEM room on site.

The main project objectives are:

  • Will increase the health and well-being of participants, will offer a safe, structured environment for young people to take part in sport reducing anti-social behaviour and will help disadvantaged communities further develop their life skills, helping break the cycle of poverty.
  • Will increase participation in physical activity for disabled people across the entire North East. A number of existing weekly sessions have moved to NUCASTLE, giving disabled children and adults an accessible and well suited space to play within and the opportunity to feel more socially included. It will also allow for an expected near 20% increase in participation on Foundation disability football programme. 
  • NUCASTLE will provide a regional career hub, delivering careers, enterprise and employability to learners and giving local employers direct access to better qualified and skilled young people. The NUFutures employability programme based at NUCASTLE will engage with over 12,000 young people over 3 years.
  • Increase people it can help from 64,000 in 2020/21 to 100,000 by 2023 whatever age, ability or background. 
  • Bespoke learning environment will be created for NEET young people to be supported back into education, employment or training, increasing our capacity by 20%. 
  • 2500 disabled children and adults will be able to access opportunity through physical activity and learning. 
  • Primary school children will visit the centre to enrich their current curriculum learning (will increase from 25% of schools in 2020/21 to 40% by 2023)