Newcastle football legend Paul Gascoigne has backed a global initiative which helps disadvantaged youngsters find a career.

Newcastle United will tomorrow (Sunday) host the Wembley to Soweto photographic project at their game against Liverpool.

Gazza, 44, said: "Wembley to Soweto is a great initiative with its roots in football and its aim to help young disadvantaged people find a worthwhile career.

"When I heard The W2S photographic exhibition was coming to Newcastle I wanted to offer my support and endorse the launch.

"I will be watching the game and will be proud to see Newcastle United display photographs from talented youngsters."

The project which is supported by Nelson Mandela and his grandson Kweku makes a positivecontribution to children's lives and the society in which they live. Current United players Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Shola Ameobi and Cheick Tiote are also backing W2S and will be involved in a pitchside photograph with Kweku ahead of the match.

Professional photographic technique and on-the-ground teaching is given to small groups of young participants by experts, allowing them to develop confidence, ambition and empathy for their colleagues and their surroundings.

The programme provides young people with a viable career path whilst building bridges within communities that allow them to be more fully accepted for who they are and what they are striving to achieve.

Wembley to Soweto (W2S) was created by English actor and founder of Wilton Pictures David Westhead against the backdrop of the FIFA 2010 South African World Cup.

International photographer John Cole trained eight teenagers from Soweto in less than five weeks to turn a camera into a career.

The striking images they produced captured the colourful World Cup and have been exhibited around the world. Newcastle United will host the event on April 1 for their game against Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Images taken at this game by youngsters from Newcastle will be exhibited at the London Olympics alongside work from Soweto.

Paul Gascoigne

Nelson Mandela's grandson Kweku Mandela said: "There's no better way to communicate across cultures than with images which take your breath away. One photo can change a life. The'Wembley to Soweto' kids are an example of that. When my grandfather, Nelson Mandela saw the work of these students he remarked, "they are so young, and yet so deeply talented". We are hugely grateful to Newcastle United for the opportunity they are affording these young South Africans. "

Teenagers who took part in the original project have since been awarded full scholarships and bursaries to photographic colleges and gone on to work for Vodacom, the South African Parliament and the United Nations.

Their work has been published in magazines such as Marie Claire and exhibited by leading galleries in New York, Antwerp, London and Johannesburg. Furthermore Wembley to Soweto images are on permanent display on the BBC website.

Following the extraordinary success of the original programme in South Africa, Wilton Pictures is now launching a major national campaign aimed at encouraging children and teenagers across the UK to pick up a camera and discover the incredible rewards and power of photography.

The campaign has also already attracted enthusiastic support from high profile figures in film andtelevision such as Bill Nighy, Emily Watson and Tamsin Greig and Wilton Pictures has already been invited to export Wembley to Soweto to territories such as Haiti, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Australia and Italy.

Actor Bill Nighy said: "This project is exemplary. It's beautiful. It's simple and it's necessary."

Richard E. Grant said: "This project is so valuable. Many of these youngsters didn't have a passport so it's an amazing opportunity for them to come from Soweto to be able to show us their work. In times of economic difficulty it's hugely important to do projects like this and provide ways for people to express themselves."

Organiser David Westhead said: " It's been hugely satisfying to see the difference that can be made with a relatively small budget but lots of hard work and dedication."

Photographer John Cole said: "I feel hugely privileged to have worked with these very talented young people and without a doubt this has been one of the most rewarding, satisfying and completely fun projects that I have ever worked on. Photographers, like footballers - have to work very very hard, every day to become the best. And to develop such skills that can change peoples lives is an amazing achievement."