Mariners help get pupils in step
From the football pitch to the dancefloor, South Shields Football Club is stepping up its efforts to be part of the community.
The SSFC Foundation held its inaugural dance festival at Mariners Park to broaden its offering to the schools it works wit – incorporating dance with its existing personal, social, health and economic education programme.
There was also a cultural element to the dance programme - led by coach Karen McKenzie - with children also learning about the heritage of countries where particular dances originated.
It culminated in a show featuring pupils from Sea View Primary School, St Bede's Primary School and Plains Farm Academy, who performed dances synonymous with the USA, France and India.
SSFC Foundation programme delivery lead, Nathan Kew, said: "It was an absolutely fantastic day. The reaction we had from parents and teachers was brilliant, and the children seemed to love every minute of it.
"We are interested in anything that puts smiles on faces, and the reaction to the dance programme has shown us that we've done the right thing embracing it.
"The more we can offer, the better chance this community has of becoming better people and creating better people through the children that we work with.
"That's what it's all about.”
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He added: "We want to have a large, positive impact on our community and working with the schools around us is a good way of doing that."
Karen McKenzie worked with the children in their schools in the lead-up to the dance festival.
She then led the festival assisted by Mr Kew, along with head of the SSFC Foundation, Steve Camm and SSFC Foundation apprentice Zak Turner-Cooke.
She said: "First of all, it was just about building their confidence up.
"I like to see the children grow from not necessarily wanting to do anything to hearing the music and building their confidence.
"It's a nice team building thing as well, so they all encourage each other, which is what I like seeing the most.
"The festival went amazingly well.
"The atmosphere was buzzing and the children worked their socks off for it.
"They thoroughly enjoyed it and relished learning the different aspects of the dances."