Steven Taylor

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has added his support to a government-backed scheme which will boost the work and life skills of 30 local youngsters this summer.

The 27-year-old centre-back, who was brought up in Whitley Bay, was on hand to launch the Newcastle United Foundation's involvement in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, which was introduced nationwide as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's 'Big Society' plans in 2011.

The Foundation - the Club's official registered charity - is delivering the programme on Tyneside as part of the NCS Network in the UK, with the first two of its six-week courses beginning on 1st July.

Each course includes a range of social inclusion activities and residential trips for 15 participants aged 16-17, with 135 young people set to benefit across nine courses over the next two years.

Taylor, who is a regular attendee at Foundation events, is now encouraging Year 11 and Year 12 students to secure their places ahead of this summer's activities.

"There are some brilliant activities involved with the NCS programme so it's a great way for kids to spend their summer," said the homegrown defender.

"Not only does it offer new challenges and the chance to learn new skills, it also has that involvement with the football club which I think will be really appealing.

"The Foundation does an amazing job in the North-East. We all know how powerful football is in this part of the country and it's great to see it being used to improve people's live. As players, we're very proud to support it."

The Foundation's NCS programme courses are split into five different phases. Youngsters will firstly be encouraged to get to know their team, before two residential trips involving adventure training and the Newcastle United Foundation.

Attention will then shift to planning a Social Action project, with participants devising their own scheme before finally delivering it for real.

The courses will culminate in a special celebration event at St. James' Park, with each participant receiving a certificate signed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Although the six-week course costs just £50, there are also bursaries available by contacting the Newcastle United Foundation directly.

For further information or to sign up, call Steve Mack at Newcastle United Foundation on 07826 870 236 or email steve.mack@nufc.co.uk.