A local bus operator has further demonstrated its support for community sports and encouraging youth talent by providing sponsorship for a much-loved regional football club in Newcastle.

Following a number of community sponsorships last year, Stagecoach North East has again backed grass roots sports with financial support of £1,000 for Walker Central Football Club, based at Monkchester Community Centre.

Walker Central FC was set up by club founder Brian Clark with a vision to create a football club for local children within the east end of the city of Newcastle. The football youth mentor and scout, who discovered Paul Gascoigne and Shola and Sammy Ameobi, set up the club in 1988 and which has become the heart of the community.

A popular family club with 500 members and 80 volunteers, Walker Central FC has its own facilities, training ground, pitches and club house to coach children aged 5 to 16, providing football activities in a safe environment and helping them with personal development such as teamwork.

The club is proud of the history and success of the past 30 years, establishing itself as a foremost authority on enabling children to reach their full potential and to progress to Newcastle United’s Academy and other professional clubs. The teams are also part of the Northern Football Alliance League in Newcastle Building Society Premier Division, and the Pinpoint League.

Stagecoach North East’s sponsorship will be used for a new set of team strips and toward the running costs of the club, including the club’s minibus and maintenance of the pitch.

Brian Clark, Walker Central FC Founder and President was delighted to receive the cheque on behalf of the team, and at the same time was also honoured at an annual ward council meeting for his 30 years service to the club.

He said: “I would like to say thank you very much to Stagecoach North East for the much needed funds. We really appreciate the company helping Walker Central FC, a club that helps to bring lots of fun and adventures in a neighbourhood which faces challenges and struggles but has a strong community behind it.

“That Stagecoach North East can see the potential is marvellous and the money will be put to excellent use. The past 30 years with the club has brought a number of tough challenges but I am a tough person and that has helped to made it a success. It’s been an adventure and certainly keeps me going so I will be involved for as long as I can.”

John Stokel-Walker, Newcastle City Councillor for the Walker ward, approached the company to get involved and help to continue the excellent work for the children and young people at the club, after the current sponsorship from a local engineering company came to an end due to relocation.

He said: “I’m delighted that Stagecoach has been kind enough to sponsor the club. I know that Brian works incredibly hard for Walker Central F.C. and any help, financial or otherwise, is deeply appreciated.”

Steve Walker, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East, said: “I know that the loss of the previous annual sponsorship has had a significant effect on the football club and therefore we were delighted to be able to offer our support to such a popular club which is central to the community in Walker.

“Grass roots sports provide an opportunity for general fitness, teambuilding and fun for adults and young people alike, and quite possibly the next generation of premier football players as demonstrated by Brian and the team at Walker Central FC. We wish them the best of luck and every success in their future games.”