Location and general information
Whatever their differences, all children have the right to play and to enjoy the best conditions to stay fit and healthy. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for many disabled children, especially those living in disadvantaged areas. In England, disability is most prevalent in the north: in a survey conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2015/16, 25% of people in the northeast reported a disability, compared with only 14% in London. In this context, the Newcastle United Foundation wishes to use the power of football to overcome barriers and ensure that disadvantaged and disabled children are not left behind but are given opportunities to participate in a wide range of sports, to learn, to stay healthy and to have fun.
The aim is to establish a regional centre of excellence for disability sport, where disabled people of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy sport and exercise without barriers as part of a ground-breaking activity programme using high-quality indoor facilities. The flagship centre will not only promote active lifestyles and the recreational enjoyment of sport alongside the associated health and well-being benefits; it will also raise aspirations and support the development of Paralympic champions of the future. A wide programme of pan-disability and disability-specific football sessions will be offered under one roof at this brand-new centre, which will be accessible to individuals and families from across northeastern England and encourage them to get active and stay active for life.
The project will give disabled children the opportunity to improve their fitness, mobility and balance. Football and other physical activities will also be used as a tool to help participants build their self-confidence, make friends and achieve their own personal goals on the football pitch and in life.
The new centre will be home to numerous clubs and teams offering weekly sessions for children in the following areas:
- DSActive (sport for people with Down’s Syndrome)
- Visually impaired football
- Deaf football
- Cerebral palsy football
- Amputee football
- Walking football
- Frame football
- Pan-disability sessions
- Powerchair football
- Sensory sports
The centre will provide a venue for regular disability football matches and competitions with other teams and groups from across the UK, bringing flagship disability sports events to the city. In addition, the centre will be a thriving community hub on matchdays, offering matchday experiences for disabled fans and a home for the Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association.
All registered users of the centre will be able to access the wide variety of programmes delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation, including personal development, education, employability, and health and well-being programmes. The centre will also be accessible to schools and community organisations that support disabled and disadvantaged people.
- Host 10 disability football clubs, each offering weekly sessions for 36 weeks of the year
- Work with 40 schools for children with special educational needs
- Work with 35 regional disability support organisations
- Organise 15 festivals, tournaments and competitions for 1,000 disabled people
- Deliver a comprehensive coach education programme and continuous professional development for 100 coaches of disabled footballers and athletes
- Recruit 50 disabled young adults for a personal development programme