Berwick youngsters’ football scheme nets more Bernicia backing

A popular football project in Berwick will continue for at least another year thanks to renewed funding from Bernicia.

By Andrew Coulson
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:38 pm
Premier League Kicks sessions in Berwick have received a grant from the Bernicia housing association. Picture courtesy of Newcastle United Foundation.
Premier League Kicks sessions in Berwick have received a grant from the Bernicia housing association. Picture courtesy of Newcastle United Foundation.

The housing association has extended its backing of the Berwick Kicks sessions with £11,500 worth of support from its Community Investment Fund.

The grant will ensure the free Friday night football sessions – led by coaches from Newcastle United Foundation – will continue throughout the 2022/23 season.

Premier League Kicks sessions regularly attract more than 130 youngsters aged eight to 18, who are put through their paces by top coaches on pitches at the Swan Centre in Tweedmouth.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

They are designed to channel young people’s time and energy into constructive training, diverting them away from anti-social behaviour.

Participants include Joey Nisbet, aged eight, whose mum said had struggled with anxiety issues when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Since starting the Berwick Kicks sessions, Joey has made lots of new friends and coaches are thrilled to see his confidence grow massively as he mixes with other youngsters, transforming him once again into a happy boy.

Sixteen-year-old Shaun Ferguson has been attending the Berwick Kicks project since it first started. He has transformed from a shy child into a confident young man, willing to help the coaches in any way he can.

He now volunteers to referee games and organises youngsters into groups, helping quieter children overcome confidence issues.

Mark Pae, Bernicia customer engagement officer, said: “Bernicia has a long-standing partnership with the Newcastle United Foundation and we are delighted to continue our support of the Kicks programme.

“Engaging with over 130 young people on a regular basis clearly demonstrates the need for the programme and the positive impact it has in our communities.”

Sarah Burn, Newcastle United Foundation Premier League Kicks Co-ordinator, said: “We are very proud to support and inspire young people in Berwick to play, learn and grow through football at our free Kicks sessions every Friday evening.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bernicia for its constant support of our charity work and thanks to its renewed funding, we can continue working together to create brighter futures for children and teenagers in Berwick.”