Bedlington Town FC has teamed up with St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy and Newcastle United Foundation coaches to expand their ‘Soccer Tots’ programme.
Since 2010 this programme has seen hundreds of budding four and five-year-olds develop their key footballing skills.
The majority of the boys and girls then progress to teams playing in the Pinpoint Junior Recruitment League.
Tony Threlfall, NUFC Foundation development officer said: “Bedlington Town FC is expanding this exciting element of what has been a hugely successful programme.
“Not only are we providing coaching to young players but we are able to help develop the next generation of coaches.
“Pupils from St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy are volunteering their time to gain coaching experience alongside our experienced NUFC coaches.
“This will pave the way to them to undertake a formal FA qualification which will be supported by Bedlington Town FC.”
David Langhorne, Bedlington Town FC chairman, said: “This is what grassroots football is all about. The programme brings together and develops young volunteers and budding players of all abilities at an important age.
“This is all done using top quality coaches/mentors in a safe and fun environment.
“This programme is the lifeblood of our club and I am always proud to see the players progress and play in the league.
“It is important to protect this youngest age group from the elements during the winter.
“The players and their parents are very grateful to Mr Todd for offering his sports hall.
“We are all volunteers at the club and we need help for the community in order to provide the best we can for our 200 children.
“We feel very lucky to have developed a great partnership with both Bedlington High School and St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy, without which we would not be where we are today.”
Mr Con Todd, headteacher, said: “Providing access to sport for local young children must remain a priority.
“This programme not only does that but it also helps our students gain coaching experience and a real understanding of their social responsibility.
“I am delighted that through our close working partnership with Bedlington Town FC, the Academy is able to engage more young people than ever before in out of school activities.”
As a result of the programme the club has rapidly grown in size to become one of the largest in the area, and it prides itself on having a successful girls section.
Anyone with a son or daughter in reception or school Year 1 who is interested in taking part, should contact the club’s Soccer Tots co-ordinator David Jamieson on 07595 374470.
More details can be found at www.bedlingtontownfc.co.uk
Sessions take place on a Saturday morning at 10am in the main sports hall at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy.