Newcastle United Foundation
“With IT services, support, and a technology platform designed and managed by Cybit, we’re able to focus on frontline activities that make a real difference in our communities.” Steve Beharall, Chief Executive Officer
A World Class Initiative – Changing People’s Lives
Through education, sport, personal development, and wellbeing programmes – Newcastle United Foundation improves the lives of children, teenagers, and adults by helping them learn new skills and be more active, leading to happier, healthier lives.
Support opportunities are provided to people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their physical and mental health. This work covers wellness support, personal development, and engaging impact projects to help to make communities safer.
Extensive outreach programmes operate across a huge geographical area, including regular interactions with local employers and direct involvement in over 120 schools. Mentoring is offered to people of all ages, focusing on employment skills development and confidence building initiatives.
Focusing on enjoyable fitness activities, STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths), and Esports qualifications, including the HADO system of gaming and physical activity, the community hub is a hive of activity from 8am to 9.30pm,7 days a week.
For over 14-years the Foundation operated from within Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park facility, but it was about to receive financial support from the Lottery and 22 local sponsors to develop and build its own purpose-built facility. The £8million project, known as NUCASTLE, was to be a world class community hub close to St. James’ Park.
Says Steve Beharall, Chief Executive Officer:
“The football club wants to be the best in the world, and that desire extends to the Newcastle United Foundation. We match the club’s ambition with the most transformative and effective community programmes ever seen in our area.”
With design and construction underway, the Foundation needed a technology partner to work with them from the ground up, and with a longstanding and proven IT and communications partnership in place with the football club, the Foundation asked Cybit to help them.
Says Malcolm Munro, Head of Facilities & Foundation Business:
“The concept and ingenuity of NUCASTLE is truly outstanding – with an indoor sports hall, a 5-a-side pitch on the roof, classrooms, meeting rooms, an esports rooms equipped to NASA standard, and an outreach programme across the area with over 100 sports teachers engaging in local education – the underlying technology and support to make everything run smoothly was vital.”
Cybit sat down with the project leaders to plan the technical design, implementation, and on-going support and maintenance of the facility and the needs of its people.
Convergence, Security, Management
With resilient links to the football club and robust IP network connectivity, the Foundation needed to blend cloud-based services, on-premise servers, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions into a hybrid platform built for the future.
A Microsoft Teams ‘fully featured’ telephony solution with IVR services was deployed to efficiently handle phone enquiries. The Microsoft Office 365 collaboration suite is extensively used by the staff and is fully enabled for flexible, multi-location, and hybrid working, with software licensing tailored to individual users. Large wall mounted smart screens are operational in all rooms for secure multi-purpose use by staff and visitors.
The local area network (LAN) and extensive Wi-Fi throughout the facility is segmented for security and performance purposes, providing separated employee and guest access. The network integrates an on-site datacentre, cloud-based services handling the booking and administration systems, physical security access, CCTV – and a smart network management intelligently routes users to partner software-as-a-service applications. Newcastle United Foundation forms part of the Managed Services provided to Newcastle United Football Club by Cybit – including 24/7 network management and monitoring, security and firewall assurance with immediate identification and remediation of any issues, 2nd line helpdesk user support and on-going hardware maintenance services.
Concludes Malcolm Munro:
“Engaging our participants and the wider community through technology is key to equipping the next generation with the skills they need to achieve their goals in a digital age. Through support from Cybit, we are able to provide inspirational and meaningful experiences for all at NUCASTLE through the IT available. Our team based at NUCASTLE also benefit from Cybit’s expertise, with staff, guests and participants able to access LAN or Wi-Fi to allow for collaborative working across office, meetings and classroom-based activities. Our diverse range of programmes and opportunities rely on state-of-the-art facilities and IT and this is something we can now provide as a charity for the community.”