1,000 local schoolkids invited to watch Saturday's York City v Gateshead match FREE

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York City defender Scott Barrow holds off a challenge at the LNER community stadium. More than 1,000 local schoolchildren have been invited to see Saturday's home against Gateshead free
York City defender Scott Barrow holds off a challenge at the LNER community stadium. More than 1,000 local schoolchildren have been invited to see Saturday's home against Gateshead free

MORE than 1,000 primary school children from across York have been invited, with their teachers, to York City’s home game against Gateshead on Saturday – ensuring the Minstermen should have a wall of sound to support them.

The children have all been involved in a two-year ‘sporting heritage’ schools project run by the York City Foundation, which has involved visits to both the old Bootham Crescent ground and the new stadium.

The two-year, lottery-funded project began back in autumn 2019, when 650 children visited the club’s old Bootham Crescent ground.

The intention had been for the same children to then visit the new community stadium, to see how they compared.

Unfortunately, Covid got in the way, says Paula Stainton, the York City Foundation manager.

By the time the project was able to resume, with visits to the new stadium starting last November, it was different groups of children who came.

York Press:
York Press:

Children enjoy a kickabout on the five-a-side pitches during a visit to the new community stadium

Nevertheless, between November and this month, more than a thousand children have been able to visit the community stadium, Paula said.

They took part in workshops, had a kickabout on the five-a-side pitches next to the stadium, and were given a tour of the stadium itself.

The project has also involved York City fans talking to the children about their own memories of going to their first match – and how the game has changed.

“This has been an amazing project despite the time lapse in delivery,” Paula said. “We were delighted to have so many young people visit Bootham Crescent in what were its final months of operation prior to the pandemic, and it has been as exciting to see so many have the chance to visit our new home.”

York Press:
York Press:

Children enjoying a tour of the new stadium

Saturday’s home game against Gateshead should be a special occasion, Paula said – giving some of the children the chance to see their first live football match.

“We are very much aware that lots of young people have never had the chance to see live football, and our new stadium provides such a great atmosphere that we want them to experience that,” she said.

The children and their teachers will be able to get in free on production of a voucher. Parents can come too, but will have to pay for their tickets.

The York City Foundation project has been a part of a wider Sporting Heritage programme run in conjunction with Explore York and the York City Knights Foundation. It was funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

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