IT is the last chance for children in the North-East to bag a spot on free football sessions run by McDonald’s and the FA.

With over 8 out of 10 (84 per cent) parents wanting their children to do more sports activity but almost-a-third (28 per cent) unable to afford it, this weekend is the last chance to take part in McDonald’s free Fun Football Sessions across Darlington, Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

A new survey shows that over-half (52 per cent) of parents are facing financial difficulties as a direct result of the pandemic, and 72 per cent are desperately seeking opportunities for their children to be more active - meaning the centres will be more important than ever for families.

The sessions aim to introduce thousands of five to 11-year-olds to the nation’s favourite game for the first time regardless of gender or ability.

There are still chances for children in the North-East to take part this weekend at:

  • Acorn Centre, Heythrop Dr, Middlesbrough – 10 October
  • Brierton Sports Centre, Brierton Ln, Hartlepool – 10 October
  • Soccer Sensations Teesside, Westland Way, Stockton-on-Tees – 10 October
  • Middlesbrough Sports Village, Alan Peacock Way, Middlesbrough – 10 October
  • Powerleague Gateshead, Ropery Rd, Gateshead – 10 October
  • Goals Newcastle, High Gosforth Park, Newcastle upon Tyne – 10 October
  • Goals Soccer Centres, College, Durham Rd, Sunderland – 10 October
  • Eastbourne Sports Complex, Darlington – 11 October
  • Goals Soccer Centres, 66-68, Stockton Rd, Middlesbrough – 11 October
  • Billingham Town FC, Bedford Terrace, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham – 11 October

With almost a third (30 per cent) of parents saying their children have avoided similar sporting events before because they didn’t feel confident to go alone, and almost-half (48 per cent) wanting the appropriate Covid-19 safety measures to be in place, the activity is relaxed, welcoming and set-up to be a fun, simple and easy way to introduce children to football.

The Northern Echo:

Every session is designed to be as safe as possible, and all activity follows the latest guidance from the Football Associations, government and public health authorities.

The Fun Football curriculum includes introductory activities perfect for children with no footballing experience, helping them develop their all-round skills, get active and make new friends.

Local franchisees Paul Buckingham and Bill Liddy said: “It’s an honour to bring these sessions back to the North East this Autumn.

"I’ve supported local grassroots football for a long time and know how important it is to get kids playing again, socialising and being active. Through our Fun Football programme, we are proudly providing 5 million hours of football for children and introducing more than half a million new players to the game by 2022.”

To sign up to these sessions and for more information, parents can go to