Peter Lovenkrands and Mehdi Abeid

Magpies duo Peter Lovenkrands and Mehdi Abeid were on hand last week to give sport in the city another boost by opening the new Walker Activity Dome.

Newcastle United Foundation is to be a major partner at the newly-developed soccer centre, following investment by Newcastle City Council which has seen a major refurbishment of the former Lightfoot Centre to create a new world class sports facility in the centre of Walker.

The new football complex includes a number of newly-created artificial football pitches, including a full-size synthetic turf pitch and a further ten five-a-side pitches, all complete with sport lighting.

The reception areas, squash courts and changing rooms have also been given a facelift with a new reception, café and bar created as part of the players' lounge.

Lovenrkands and Abeid blew the whistle to kick off the regional final of the Premier League Schools Football Competition, the first sporting event to be played at the at the new complex.

Primary and scondary schools from across the region were invited to compete in the tournament, eventually won by Tyneview Primary and Walbottle Campus, who will go on to represent Newcastle United at the final of the annual schools tournament at the Emirates Stadium in May.

Lovenkrands said: "I think it's a fantastic facility they've made here. I wish I had something like this when I was younger.

"It's very good for the young kids to develop, but I think the most important thing is that they're able to enjoy themselves and enjoy football, not to be too serious and be pushed too much.

"It's good if they can enjoy themselves and enjoy their football, so it's a great facility.

"The games are very competitive and I just hope they're enjoying themselves - that's what it's all about. Football when you're that young is all about enjoying yourself. Have some dreams, but enjoy the football."

The City Council is working closely with the Newcastle United Foundation to deliver first class football coaching opportunities on the site.

Kate Bradley, head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "We are really excited to be part of this excellent new venture. The Walker Activity Dome is going to be a fantastic facility for the people of Walker which will encourage more people, young and old, in the area to play football on a more regular basis."

The new football complex is part of wider regeneration plans for the area which also include a new 420 place school, the adjacent Central Walker School, planned to open in September. The two projects will make a major contribution to the regeneration of the Heart of Walker.

The new Walker Activity Dome has been given its new name following a competition with pupils in the Central Walker School and users of the Lightfoot Centre.

Walker Activity Dome