Newcastle United Foundation was proud to be joined by Catherine McKinnell MP as they officially opened Lemington Football Centre today (9 November).
Councillor Kim McGuinness joined Catherine to see pupils from Waverley Primary School developing their football skills before helping to plant a memorial tree to mark the lives of the Newcastle United players that lost their lives in the First World War.
The Foundation has leased the former Lemington Middle School site from Newcastle City Council and after 18 months collaboration between the charity, residents, schools and the Council the site is now fully operational. With the ongoing support of Newcastle United, Lemington Football Centre is now also home to two of the best grass pitches in the city.
The site will give young people and families in the Outer West of the City an opportunity to get more involved in Foundation programmes, such as Fit Club, football activities, NCS, employability support and community activity. The vision for the site is that it will become a hub for Women and Girls football and eventually a home for Newcastle United Women.
Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said:
“I am excited to see all the hard work from our team, with the support of Newcastle City Council and Newcastle United come to fruition. By gifting us the site the council has given us a rare opportunity to establish a hub in the heart of a community that will help us engage with even more people.
“We want Lemington Football Centre to be an integral part of community life in the Outer West of the City and we’re really excited by the interest shown by residents, schools and businesses – our free Fit Club has already proved hugely popular and we can’t wait to share more opportunities to get involved with our neighbours.”
Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, said:
“This is a fantastic new facility for Lemington and the Outer West area, and I’m delighted to be able to see it in action. By enabling local residents – of all ages – to be active, the Newcastle United Foundation are playing a really important role in supporting local communities, and I am particularly excited that the Lemington Football Centre will have a strong focus on women and girls’ football.
“It was also incredibly poignant to help plant the memorial tree today. Four years ago – to mark the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One – I joined Waverley Primary pupils in visiting the Commonwealth War Graves in Lemington Cemetery just down the road, so it meant a great deal to also mark the end of the War with the school today.”
Councillor Kim McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Public Health said;
“I am really pleased to be part of the reopening of Lemington Football Centre.
“This is a celebration of the brilliant work of the Newcastle United Foundation who have created a facility that will benefit the local community.
“Providing facilities that enable and inspire women from across Newcastle to take part in sport is vitally important and something Newcastle City Council are developing across the city. We have already seen success engaging with women through campaigns such as This Girl Can, which we are proud ambassadors of.
“I believe strongly that creating vibrant neighbourhoods that support all residents, families and visitors to live healthy, active lives is vitally important and has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the whole city.”
Richard Nixon, associate at Muckle LLP, added:
“Newcastle United Foundation is an exceptional sporting charity, which Muckle is proud to have advised for several years. This project is yet another example of the foundation’s excellent work, creating new opportunities for the community to engage in sport which make a lasting difference to so many people’s health, wellbeing and self-belief.”