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Football initiative comes to Darlington
A new coaching initiative has been set up in Darlington that aims to use football in order to enrich education in primary schools around the town.
The Community Schools Programme has been launched by Darlington Football Club whose manager, Martin Gray, has a wealth of experience in coaching.
Since launching two years ago the Martin Gray Football Academy has grown in size and stature, coaching hundreds of children across the region, and he is keen to make a different to schools in Darlington.
He has recruited two coaches to look after the Community Schools Programme, Deano Browne and Andrew Jinks, and they are already planning visits to schools across the town.
They have joined on a full time basis having previously ran successful football coaching courses in the USA as well as in several schools in Darlington.
Deano said: "When Martin offered me the chance to work for his football academy I jumped at it straight away.
"I'm from the town and I'm a Darlington supporter so it's great to be able to do something like this, coaching local children for my local club.
"I will have the opportunity to work with lots of school children in Darlington and hopefully develop them not just as footballers but also as young people."
As well as putting on coaching sessions for children, the pupils will also attend Darlington home games at Heritage Park for a matchday experience. This will include meeting the manager and players before the match and also playing on the pitch at half time.
The aim is that the children will be enthused by the experience and Deano and Andrew encourage the pupils to pen a match report.
Andrew added: "This is the kind of career opportunity I've been looking for to develop my skills as a coach and to work regularly with youngsters interested in sport."
Martin was appointed Darlington manager in the summer with his team enjoying a fine start to the season as they sit top of the Northern League having won seven of their first eight league games.
He said: "The whole of Darlington is buzzing at the moment with the successful start the football team has made this season.
"I believe passionately in schemes like the Community Schools Programme and I'm very pleased that Deano and Andrew will be visiting schools and giving the children of Darlington a marvellous experience that hopefully they'll never forget."