YOUNG football fans from South Tyneside are ‘over the Toon’ at getting the chance to watch Newcastle United’s Premier League stars in action as part of an anti-racism campaign.
Teenagers at the Whiteleas Way Children’s Home in South Shields will watch the high-flying Magpies take on Bolton Wanderers at Newcastle on Easter Monday.
The dream trip has been set up by Show Racism The Red Card, a campaign which uses football to educate against racism,
It follows a workshop in January when children at the home in Whiteleas Way were given tickets to a Sunderland match by former Black Cats’ player Gary Bennett.
Darren Bird, manager at the children’s home, which caters for 16 to 18-year-olds from a wide range of backgrounds, said: “Most of the youngsters enjoy football, and it’s a nice day out for them to go to the match.
“In South Shields, there are a lot of Sunderland and Newcastle fans, and it’s great that both clubs are supporting initiatives like this.”
Show Racism The Red Card works with young people across the North East every year, including 1,500 children and teenagers in South Tyneside. In February, footballers from past and present were at an anti-racism workshop at South Shields Town Hall in Fowler Street, South Shields.
At the event, Sunderland defender Wes Brown, and former Newcastle players Olivier Bernard and John Anderson, spoke about their experiences of racism.
They also helped to educate the children about issues such as stereotyping and discrimination.
Craig Bankhead, Show Racism The Red Card’s North East education manager, said: “We work closely with South Tyneside Council, and meet 1,500 young people in the borough every year.
“It’s about changing attitudes in communities, and also about answering questions people have about racism, such as language which they can and cannot use.
“It’s not just about football – we use sports stars as role models to help tackle racism in society.”
Show Racism The Red Card is set to return to the Whiteleas Way Children’s Home for another workshop in the summer.
The council-run children’s home looks after six teenagers. It was rated as ‘good’ after an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted in January 2011.