Christmas leaves most in a plethora of excitement - the chance to celebrate, catch up with family and friends means for many, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of all. On the 21th December it was the last derby Premier League football match of the year between neighbouring cities;Newcastle and Sunderland. Sunderland had won the last three derby matches and tensions were running high. Northumbria Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird launched a new campaign 'A derby to be proud of' tackling football violence and raising awareness that football can be fun and passionate without the hatred. In recognition of the campaign TyneMet invited NUFC Foundation, who are working with Northumbria Police, to deliver their initiative 'Building Bridges' to students.
TyneMet students were invited along to the NUFC Foundation initiative, which tackles perceptions, stigma and stereotyping in the well documented issue of violence within football. Laura Wilson, Project Officer at Newcastle United Foundation who delivered the interactive presentation said: "It's fundamental that we tackle the thinking that leads to violence on match days - the aim of the building bridges initiative is to get young people to question their judgement before acting upon it and the long term consequences that can arise."
The campaign 'A derby to be proud of' focuses on combatting unacceptable behaviour, representing the passion fans have for the game, without the hatred, Laura Wilson added: "The presentation has been well received amongst young people leading to them questioning their own opinions and beliefs, we want young people to enjoy the match but stay safe."
The presentation captivated students to broaden their viewpoints. Lynsey Moy, Pastoral tutor said: "We are delighted that Laura could deliver the project to our students. The feedback from the group proved that the initiative is working – challenging perceptions that lead to violence. What also really stuck out to the students was the quote from Nelson Mandela, highlighting a zero tolerance on racism. The message that an action can cause consequence is also important and can affect every aspect of your life; if you're serious about education then remember to think first."
Find out more - #aderbytobeproudof and the NUFC Foundation http://www.nufoundation.org.uk/