Rugby+ Futures helps disadvantaged youngsters in Teesside

Rugby+ Futures helps disadvantaged youngsters in Teesside

Thursday 14 March 2024 Written by: Mark Smith

Newcastle Rugby Foundation are excited to announce their partnership with Electricity North East Construction and Maintenance to support the delivery of Rugby+ Futures.

This initiative aims to help disadvantaged young people aged 15+ in the North East region.

The Futures programme, pioneered by former Newcastle Falcons, England and Lions star Tony Underwood, co-authored by acclaimed coach Lysa Morrison and double Olympian Chris Cook, will promote emotional intelligence, self-belief and resilience among young people.

This will empower them to reach their full potential and become the best version of themselves.

Thanks to this partnership, the Futures programme will drive positive change in the community and improve the lives and self-belief of the young people it was designed for. Through a series of specifically designed activities and discussions they hope to develop confidence in social interactions and improve the mental well-being of all participants.

The project launched this week at Nunthorpe Academy and Prior Pursglove College as the first of 15 cohorts in the area. The initial sessions have been described as inspiring by the first group of participants, and the Foundation is excited to be working with Electricity North East to bring this important initiative to more schools and colleges in the region.

Collaboration with the Teesworks Skills Academy will also provide participants with the opportunity to further develop their skills learned from the Rugby+ Futures programme, and they will gain an understanding of how these skills are relevant to opportunities being created on the Teesworks site.

Deputy faculty manager of endeavour at Prior Pursglove College, Rob Bell, said: “I wish I could bottle the change in the students’ attitudes and show Ofsted what a difference it has made already.”

Jim Hallas, customer solutions director at Electricity North East, said: “We’ve recently completed major multimillion-pound work in the local area which will undoubtedly enable economic growth and allow for hundreds of jobs to be created.

“As part of our work we also made a commitment to invest in the local community, and after learning about the Futures Programme we couldn’t wait to get involved and become a sponsor.

“The programme is a real opportunity to truly support young people and make a real difference at a key stage in their life journey, and we look forward to seeing it rolled out in the North East.”

Tony Underwood, ambassador of Newcastle Rugby Foundation, said “We can’t thank Electricity North East enough for their belief in this programme to make a real impact in our beloved North East.

“And belief is what the programme is about. We want to deliver to all the young people a sense of belief in what is possible – to inspire them to aspire, and to equip them with the tools to turn that aspiration into tangible outcomes.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s vital we give our young people the right support they need so they can take advantage of the employment opportunities being created at Teesworks and across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

“Sport is a great way to help build crucial life skills, and this superb initiative has the potential to transform the lives of those students who take part.

“Rugby has been a huge part of my life, and it’s great that we have been able to partner with Newcastle Rugby Foundation in such a positive way.”

Teesworks Skills Academy development manager Neil Young said: “The Rugby+ Futures programme is a fantastic initiative for young people in Tees Valley to understand how the values and ethos of sport can be used in everyday life.

“Thousands of jobs are coming to Teesworks, and it’s vitally important our young people make the most of the opportunities that are coming to the area. Teesworks Skills Academy is proud to be collaborating on this programme, which will make a real difference to the lives of young people in our area.”

If you would like to find out more about the Rugby+ Futures programme or ways to get involved, please email Jake Vandervelde at