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Employment project hopes to score with new football programme

An innovative new project is using football to help inspire people to overcome their barriers and get into work or training.

Step Forward Tees Valley has teamed up with the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation to offer fun, free football sessions in Darlington and Middlesbrough.

Step Forward Tees Valley, which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, is working across the Tees Valley to help people overcome issues such as addiction, lack of skills or self confidence, which could be preventing them from finding a job.

The project has joined forces with Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation to run free football sessions, matches and sporting challenges for people who might benefit from its work.

The sessions take place on Mondays, 12-2pm at Eastbourne Sports Complex, Darlington  and Tuesdays, 11am-1pm at MFC Foundation Herlingshaw Centre, Eston, Middlesbrough.

Les Curvis, from the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation, said:

We have a lot of experience in using football and sport in general to help people facing a range of social and economic issues. Exercise is good for your physical and mental health and these sessions could help give much needed structure to someone’s life.

Once people come along to these sessions we can also find out what issues they may be facing and help them find a way to overcome them.

Helen Collins, Programme Manager for Step Forward Tees Valley, said:

I am delighted that Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation has come on board and hopefully through its work we can reach even more people who could benefit from the help we can offer.

Our aim is to help people overcome their barriers so there is nothing standing in their way in looking for a job or training for a brighter future.

To find out more about the football scheme call 01642 454816 or email les.curvis@mfcfoundation.co.uk

You can find out more about Step Forward Tees Valley at www.sfteesvalley.co.uk and follow them on twitter and Facebook.


Please call Hayley Jones, communications and marketing officer on 01325 387713 or 0782 5797439 to arrange


  1. For more information about Step Forward Tees Valley, please contact Hayley Jones:
    jones@niconsortium.org or 0782 5797439 or Helen Collins: helen.collins@niconsortium.org
  2. The Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) is an established partnership of four of the North East’s largest charities: Mental Health Concern, DISC, Groundwork North East and Cumbria, and Changing Lives The Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) partners are as follows:
  1. Information about Building Better Opportunities:
  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
  • It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.
  • The project has received up to £[amount] of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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