Leeds United tackling a new community challenge

Leeds United have kicked off 2011 with the launch of a new charity initiative.

The club's work to provide education, sporting and social opportunities for people in and around Leeds has been carried out for more than a

decade by its Football In The Community scheme.

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Now, though, the scheme has been relaunched as the Leeds United Foundation. The foundation has charitable status, which gives it access to a wider range of funding streams than its predecessor.

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It is also hoped the delivery of its various courses and activities will benefit from official 'partnering' link-ups with local businesses.

Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "The incorporation of the foundation and the commitment of the club to support it should lead to us being able to positively affect the lives of many people within the area, using Leeds United to open doors that wouldn't normally be available to them.

"This is a very exciting development."

United's Football In The Community boss, Mick Ferguson, has made the switch to the new set-up, as have the rest of the old scheme's staff.

Ferguson, a former player with Coventry City and Everton, has headed up the Leeds community team since 1998.

The foundation has also announced the appointment of four trustees. Shaun Harvey is one while the other three are:

* Jim McAulay, vice-president of the West Riding County FA;

* Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Gary Williamson;

* Coun Andrew Carter, former leader of Leeds City Council.

Coun Carter said today that he was "delighted" to be on board with the project.

Businesses interested in getting involved with the foundation's work are asked to call Mick Ferguson on 0113 367 6300.