Fabricio Coloccini

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has been passing his sporting experiences on to local school children courtesy of the region's largest supply-teaching agency, First Class Supply.

The Argentine star was specially recruited to visit pupils at Holy Cross Primary School, in Wallsend, by the agency as part of its sponsorship of the popular Toon Times project; an educational programme being delivered by Newcastle United Foundation which uses the power of football to improve the literacy and learning techniques of young people.

Toon Times will reach 15,000 youngsters across 430 Tyneside schools over three years, with historic Magpies artefacts, props and even visits by its players helping to bring the past to life.

As part of his visit, Coloccini joined in a football coaching session and looked back at some of United's iconic football shirts with the children, comparing them to the brand new school kits generously donated to Holy Cross by First Class Supply.

"It was great to come to the school and meet the children with the Newcastle United Foundation," said Coloccini.

"Football is very important to the whole city so it is a privilege for the players to support events like this and to see our young fans."

First Class Supply, formed by Whitley Bay-based co-founders and directors Stephanie Boulton and Lesley Robinson, is the third major backer of the Toon Times project, bolstering the support of the Premier League (PL) Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Community Fund and the Heritage Lottery Council.

Stephanie said: "As passionate supporters ourselves, we understand the powerful and positive influence that Newcastle United can have on young people in the city so we are very proud to support Toon Times project.

"Fabricio Coloccini was a fantastic part of the session. It was great to see the children so engaged and we look forward to even more pupils benefitting from Toon Times as it reaches schools across the region."

As well as reaching schools, Toon Times is also the subject of a major exhibition at Newcastle's Discovery Museum which will run until October 2014.

Launched in February with a star-studded event, the exhibition takes visitors on an interactive journey through the Club's history. Its popularity helped the museum to record its largest ever visitor numbers last month.

The Discovery Museum, which located in Blandford Square, close to St. James' Boulevard, is open from 10am-4pm midweek and 11am-4pm at weekends. Admission is free.

To find out more about the Newcastle United Foundation and how it is improving the lives of 50,000 people in the local community each year, visit www.nufc.co.uk/foundation or email Kate Bradley, head of Newcastle United Foundation, via kate.bradley@nufc.co.uk.