Club. Tonali and Gillespie meet students in Newcastle United Foundation's esports room

13 May 24

The next generation of digital experts have been showing off their skills to Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali and Mark Gillespie in Newcastle United Foundation's high-tech Harrison Foundation esports room.

The Magpies dropped in to meet students exploring STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the official charity arm of the club at the Foundation's community hub, five minutes' walk from St. James' Park.

The two honorary classmates for young people at NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society, was part of Tonali and Gillespie's visit to learn more about the Foundation's work in the community.

The pair saw first-hand how the charity inspires children and teenagers to build their communication, teamwork and leadership skills through the first and only esports study opportunity in the North East linked to a Premier League club.

Andy Foster, Director of Programmes and Impact at Newcastle United Foundation, said: "In the two years since opening our esports room at NUCASTLE, we have delivered more than 994 hours of sessions to community members of all ages to benefit from STEM education and recreation.

"Sandro and Mark engaging with students is an opportunity these young people will never forget and we are proud to provide that experience alongside Newcastle United Football Club and the Harrison Foundation.

"With their continued support, we are able to offer free-to-access community sessions where young people can enjoy playing and learning using this state-of-the-art equipment."

The Harrison Centre for Social Mobility within NUCASTLE's esports room is fully equipped with gaming PCs and keyboards, esports furniture, gaming and esports management software. Thanks to vital funding from the Harrison Foundation, young people can access the suite to explore all aspects of the growing esports industry, providing education in essential skills in IT, personal and social development and more.

Daniel Harrison, Harrison Foundation Trustee, said: "The Harrison's Foundation goal to provide meaningful opportunities to get people closer to employment is certainly being met with Newcastle United Foundation.

"I am thrilled that more than 1,600 people have benefitted from this fantastic facility since last summer and that young people especially are exploring their future in eSTEM and STEM opportunities.

"Learning delivered in this engaging environment allows the next generation to build on their communication skills and confidence, teamwork, leadership abilities and more.

"It is great to have Sandro and Mark along to enjoy using the centre and we hope to welcome them back soon."

STEM education in NUCASTLE is supported by the Premier League and Professional Footballer’s Association. Administered through the Premier League Charitable Fund, the funding helps football clubs to tackle inequality and respond to local challenges, supporting people and their communities to be more inclusive.

For more information about the Foundation and programmes near you, follow Newcastle United Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X for regular news and updates.

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