First Class Supply

A business at the forefront of educational excellence in the North-East has teamed up with the Newcastle United Foundation to provide funding for a series of free lessons which will reach up to 15,000 schoolchildren.

First Class Supply, which is the fastest-growing independent supply-teaching agency in the North-East, has thrown its weight behind the charity's Toon Times project, which aims to use the power of football to engage children across 430 sessions over the next three years.

Toon Times gives children the opportunity to learn about the long and illustrious history of Newcastle United using a number of influential personalities and historic artefacts, as well as the chance to re-create their favourite Magpies moments from across the decades during the free two-hour lessons.

The aim is to improve the literacy of even more children across Tyneside, with the Foundation last year working with 38,000 disadvantaged children, young people and families.

First Class Supply was formed by Whitley Bay-based co-founders and directors Stephanie Boulton and Lesley Robinson and has become the third major backer of the Toon Times project after £170,000 of grants from Premier League (PL) Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Community Fund and the Heritage Lottery Council.

Stephanie said: "We are very passionate about the North East and its history and culture. We have been avid NUFC supporters for many, many years and have followed the work the Foundation does for some time now."

Lesley added: "First Class Supply is very proud to sponsor the Newcastle United Foundation and Toon Times as it combines two aspects which are very important to us: helping children across the North-East and teaching them about some of our history and heritage. We are very excited about this project and are proud to be involved."

Sarah Medcalf, Newcastle United Foundation's fundraising manager, commented: "Newcastle United Foundation is so pleased to welcome First Class Supply as 'Toon Times' third funding partner.

"The funding they have provided alongside grants from the PL PFA Community Fund and Heritage Lottery will make the heritage of our great football club accessible to a wide range of fans, locally and across the world, and encourage young people and families to actively learn about the history of Newcastle United."

The Toon Times project is delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums and will culminate in a major exhibition at Newcastle's Discovery Museum in 2014 which could attract 360,000 visitors.

The partnership with First Class Supply will be celebrated at an event at the Museum on Tuesday, with Newcastle United stars Steven Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez joining Club legend Peter Beardsley and children from Atkinson Road Primary School.