Newcastle United Foundation. Newcastle United become first Premier League club to be awarded 'Football Club of Sanctuary'

07 Mar 24

Newcastle United has become the first Premier League football club to be awarded 'Football Club of Sanctuary' status for its inclusive commitment and dedication to supporting people in the city who are seeking refuge

The football club and Newcastle United Foundation, the official charity arm of the club, have received formal accreditation following an external panel approval process, which involved demonstration of their outstanding impact on the lives of individuals seeking sanctuary within the community through provision of a varied range of tailor-made projects.

Work across a number of joint initiatives throughout the city and wider region was highlighted as 'best practice', including support for the Newcastle West End Foodbank and the 'A Helping Hand at Christmas' campaign, which seeks to support some of the region's most vulnerable people during winter. Further work across the football club has seen additional staff training to understand more about refugees and asylum seekers as well reaffirming ways in which discrimination is reported.

Commenting on being accredited with Football Club of Sanctuary status, Newcastle United's CEO, Darren Eales, said: "Football Club of Sanctuary status underlines Newcastle United's commitment to being a power for good in the city and wider region.

"We live in an area that is renowned for the warmth of its welcome, and we are proud to play our part in projecting that welcoming message to everyone who visits or lives in the North East.

"Collectively, Newcastle United and Newcastle United Foundation will continue to harness the power of football to support and unite people, ensuring St. James' Park and NUCASTLE are places where everyone feels at home."

Families seeking sanctuary and young refugees who have recently arrived in the region are among those supported by Newcastle United Foundation, with access to free and inclusive programmes boosting mental and physical health, as well as employability and education support.

One of the key programmes supporting young refugees, asylum seekers and people with a migrant background in the city is the Foundation's Welcome Through Football initiative. It provides a unique opportunity to assist with integration and inclusion, using passion for football as a platform for engagement.

Earlier this season the Foundation's NUCASTLE also became a certified Safe Reporting Centre by Northumbria Police, providing a neutral location to report hate crime or hate incidents without having to contact the police directly.

Speaking of work in the community, Newcastle United Foundation CEO, Steve Beharall, added: "It is Newcastle United Foundation's purpose to inspire, connect and collaborate to enhance people's lives and our inclusion work engaging all communities living and working here in the North East is key to meeting that mission.

"Recognition as a Football Club of Sanctuary strengthens our message that alongside Newcastle United, we are proud to provide equal opportunities and a warm welcome to those seeking sanctuary in the city and wider region.

"It is a privilege to lead the way in developing an inclusive culture and Sanctuary status, dedicated Foundation programmes and the United As One campaign will continue to deliver on our shared responsibility to support those in need."

Dr. Chris Stone from City of Sanctuary added: "The City of Sanctuary movement is about recognising and celebrating local organisations who are working together to build a culture of welcome for people forced to leave their homes and seek safety in the UK. In towns and cities across the county, football clubs are crucial as real and symbolic sources of local pride and identity.

"The Football Club of Sanctuary Award was developed to showcase football's contribution to combined local efforts of embedding solidarity, compassion and inclusion regarding sanctuary seekers. Newcastle United have recognised the importance of this and have been working with us for the past three years to develop the Football Club of Sanctuary concept and the award is well deserved."

Football Club of Sanctuary accreditation is part of the club and Foundation's long-term commitment to inclusivity, which is encompassed through the United As One brand. For more information, please visit

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