On Wednesday 22nd August, Bell Group teamed up with Byker Community Trust and Newcastle United Foundation to offer a group of young Byker residents the opportunity of a lifetime as they travelled to Newcastle United’s Training Ground for an incredible dream day out.
The event was donated by Newcastle United and Newcastle United Foundation at Footballer Christian Atsu’s Black Star Dinner, in aid of Christian’s charity ‘Arms Around the Child’. Bell Group purchased the prize on the night and were delighted to donate it to Byker Community Trust.
Bell Group has worked in collaboration with Byker Community Trust on an abundance of projects over the last 10 years, and dived at the opportunity to take the Byker Premier League Kicks participants to this this unique event at Newcastle FC. Premier League (PL) Kicks started in 2006 and has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation to help hard-to-reach youngsters in some of the most high-need areas.
The day kicked off with meeting Newcastle United’s Manager, Rafa Benitez, and the first team squad – amazing!
Representatives from Bell Group, Byker Community Trust and Newcastle United Foundation worked with the young people who took part to demonstrate the roles they played and the influences they have had within their community. The group discussed their aims and aspirations for social inclusion, improved environmental standards and increasing employment opportunities – all their objectives for making Byker a better place to live and work. The participants chatted about the positive impact they can have on shaping the future of Byker through getting involved in community activities.
The group then got a chance to take to the pitch themselves, taking part in a training session on the same pitch as their heroes before being joined by Atsu.
After posing for photos and answering questions, Christian Atsu explained how he overcame difficulties in his home country of Ghana. He spoke about how he established himself as a premier league footballer and how he was using his personal achievements to make positive changes back home, and hoped that he could inspire the group to do the same. Christian then worked alongside Newcastle United Foundation coaches to deliver a coaching session to the participants.
To finish off the day, a mock press conference was squeezed in before full time! This featured the young people who sat in the Manager’s press conference chair and shared their experience of the day.
Paul Aitkin, Branch Manager at Bell Group Newcastle, said: “Bell Group is committed to helping young people raise their aspirations and reach their full potential. This was a brilliant opportunity for us to engage with young people from Byker, reward them for their commitment to the community activity programme through Byker Community Trust and their dedication to attending Byker Kicks with Newcastle United Foundation.
It was great for the young people to meet such an inspiring role model in Christian Atsu and to hear about all the great work he does to support his community in Ghana through Arms Around the Child. If we can encourage and inspire these young people to be just as proud of their community and to realise that they can make a difference I think that is really positive.”
Philip Pollard, Director of Operations at Byker Community Trust, added: “I would like to thank Bell Group for the fantastic opportunity these young people from Byker have had today.
It is something that they will remember forever. They really deserved to have a fantastic time after engaging so positively in community activities, such as The Big Bike Revival, a World War 1 remembrance event, volunteering at Stepney Bank Stables and Byker Kicks.”
Bell Group is honoured to be involved in Byker Community Trust & Newcastle United Foundation’s Kicks Programme and we are very proud to have helped in providing such a unique opportunity for the young people of Byker. The event was built around inspiring and educating young people, about respecting their neighbourhood and community and above all, empowering them to recognise and unlock their potential to achieve their goals in life.