Sunderland star sees pupils’ fancy footwork

Sunderland footballer Fraizer Campbell joined youngers at a training session in Portland College.
Sunderland footballer Fraizer Campbell joined youngers at a training session in Portland College.
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SCHOOL kids showed off their fancy footwork for Sunderland star Fraizer Campbell.

The striker was at Portland College to see how youngsters are developing on a Making Moves disability coaching session.

Head to head.....Logan Elliott, 17, and Fraizer Campbell at Portland College.

Head to head.....Logan Elliott, 17, and Fraizer Campbell at Portland College.

The after-school class has been running at the special school in Chapelgarth for six years.

Fraizer said: “Using football to boost awareness and other skills is a massive benefit to children.

“There was nothing like this when I was at school but I remember starting to play football when I was eight or nine with my friends. It’s important to get kids interested in sport when they are young.”

Children aged 12 upwards, who have a wide variety of disabilities, take part in the weekly sessions delivered by SAFC Foundation.

Regionally, Making Moves works with just under 1,000 youngsters each year.

Fraizer said: “It’s been really good coming here and seeing the young people enjoying themselves.

“I’ve done a couple of things with the foundation and it’s something I’m happy to be involved in. I could be sat at home or I can come here and see the kids who really appreciate seeing you.”

He added: “SAFC is massively important to the community in this city so it’s only right that the community should be important to the club.”

Shirley Gilfellon, PE teacher at Portland College, said: “A lot of these young people have behavioural problems in lessons but you see a different side to them in these sessions. The difference in them over the course of the sessions is clearly visible.

“It helps with co-ordination and even their ability to concentrate. Football in the North East is everyone’s bread and butter and it’s something the kids can relate to.

“Footballers have been down to the sessions. It’s always very exciting to have them here.”

SAFC Foundation is the club’s charity arm and works with more than 40,000 children, young people and their families in community, education, health and sport programmes across the North East every year.

Making Moves co-ordinator Kevin Darke said the benefits of the sessions were far-reaching.

“The programme works on everything from balance and co-ordination to gross motor skills and is tailored to the needs of the children,” he explained.

“Out of all our courses it is one of the ones that gets the best response. It really enthuses the children when a role model like Fraizer comes to see them.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty