Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is backing a Tyne-Wear football campaign aimed at kicking anti-social behaviour (ASB) into touch.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is funding an initiative that will see young people from both Newcastle United and Sunderland's respective foundations come together to tackle youth crime and ASB.

The Commissioner has given funding of just under £20,000 to the project as part of the Community Safety Fund.

Both clubs described the funding as "fantastic" and something which would help to benefit communities across the region.

The project will see youngsters from both clubs' 'Kicks' projects working together during a number of workshops and other activities, aimed at exploring ASB and disorder.

The activities will include visits to St. James' Park and the Stadium of Light, a series of classroom-based activities, the opportunity to play in showcase matches, take part in a series of play days and other educational events.

Throughout the project they will be discussing youth crime, disorder and ASB focusing on football related rivalries between the two teams.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: "We know people in the North-East are passionate about their football and this starts at an early age.

"This valuable project gives youngsters the opportunity to meet others who may support a different local team.

"Through workshops and activities they will explore and discuss anti-social behaviour - what it is, the impact is has on them, their families and their communities and the consequences of violent or anti-social behaviour.

"Using football to get this message across means they are in an environment that is interesting and more comfortable for them - it will hopefully mean they engage better and learn more.

"My office has met with the staff running the project from both clubs and it's clear the project works and is helping to change young people's lives, so I was more than happy to offer my backing and support."

Kate Bradley, head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "Our Kicks project sees 150 young people in Newcastle turn up weekly to each session and we have a proven track record of helping young people achieve their goals through football.

"This project is all about using the power of football to unite not divide."

Ev Ripley-Day, head of Raising Standards at the Foundation of Light, added: "We've had great success with a number of our Kicks projects reducing youth anti-social behaviour by up to 80 per cent in the communities in which they run, as well as giving young people access to experiences and workshops that have raised their aspirations and broadened their horizons.

"We're very excited to be working with the Newcastle United Foundation and hope that it has a positive impact on young people from both groups."