Team Talk

THE collapse of Redcar-based SSI in 2015 left more than 2,000 directly-employed staff without work and affected hundreds more in the supply chain. As a community it was important to the local area to work together and offer a unique project which could help support those affected by recent redundancies.

‘Team Talk’ was joint funded by Middlesbrough Council and Redcar & Cleveland Council along with additional support from Middlesbrough FC players who donated proceeds from their charity topless calendar. The proceeds went directly towards the programme, which significantly helped to launch and run Team Talk.

Team Talk is aimed at engaging males recently made redundant across Teesside, targeting mainly men aged 40+ who have been impacted by the recent closure of SSI Steelworks.

This model looked at engaging local champions in communities that would assist with tackling social isolation and loneliness by supporting individuals to maintain latent functions such as time structure during the day, continued shared experiences with others, goal setting and continuing to be active. It aims to build community resilience using evidence based mental health improvement interventions.

Empowerment is at the heart of the weekly meetings (called ‘Boot Rooms’) with participants being practical and proactive; aiming to help them to fulfill both group and individual goals. The most important feature of the boot rooms is that the members drive the agenda and activities.

The group have engaged in a number of activities including volunteering on Sporting Memories ’66 event at the Riverside Stadium, attending Newcastle Airport for fire safety training alongside talks on seasonal contracts and are also currently voluntarily renovating the environment surrounding their boot room hub site.

The group have received guest speakers from organisations such as Pension wise, Job Centre and National Careers Service, while they have also attended healthy eating workshops ran by Middlesbrough FC’s 1st Team Chef, as well as assisting in the running of the annual steel gala day at Redcar. Aside from this they have taken part in interviews and reports for BBC One, The Politics Show, The Northern Echo, The Evening Gazette and BBC Radio Tees.

Contact Oliver on liam.watson@mfcfoundation.co.uk or call 01642 757674


Friend Of The Foundation Recreate A Little Bit Of History

Friend of the Foundation Land of Iron have teamed up with Redcar Athletic Football Club to create the inaugural Steel & Iron Cup in Redcar.

With support from Tees Valley Combined Authority, the event, at Redcar Athletic’s Green Lane ground, will run on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July 2024.

The idea stems from a conversation between staff at Land of Iron and Redcar Athletic around the historic Bury Cup – a football tournament at Skinningrove’s ironworks which ran from 1912 until 1972 between teams from former and current iron and steelworking communities.

With a firm focus on industrial heritage, and how sport and recreation played a large part within iron and steel communities, this year the pre-season trophy will be contested between Redcar Athletic and Barrow-in-Furness’ Holker Old Boys on Saturday 20th July at 1pm.

Holker Old Boys were formed in 1936 and are based in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. With a long tradition of iron mining and steelmaking in the area, they were the perfect choice for this inaugural fixture between the east coast and west coast teams.

On Friday 19th July a free Heritage day will take place at Redcar Athletic with music, stalls, and family activities. Land of Iron’s Mine on the Move display, Teesside Archives, British Steel, Teesworks, Unite the Union, Community Union, and MFC Foundation – including an appearance by Middlesbrough FC’s Roary the Lion. Doors will open to the public at 3pm with a range of activities running until 6pm.

From 7pm, a panel of experts on industrial heritage will take part in a discussion around iron and steel making on Teesside, how our industry helped build the infrastructure of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how our shared heritage feeds into the future of industry on Teesside today and into the future.

A chance conversation between Ryan McKnight, Managing Director of Redcar Athletic and Nick Wesson, Marketing Manager at Land of Iron began the whole process. For Land of Iron, the chance to work with Redcar Athletic on such an exciting project was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Marie Woods, Chief Executive of Land of Iron, said: “Since Land of Iron re-opened to the public in 2023, we have reached out to, and worked with, our community as much as possible. Our aims are not only to preserve our iron and steel heritage for future generations, but to engage people with our local history in different and new ways. Partnering with Redcar Athletic to create the Steel & Iron Cup is a brilliant way for us to make history relevant to more people and to celebrate the social history of our area too.”

Ryan McKnight, Chief Executive of Redcar Athletic Football Club added: “Redcar Athletic are The Steelmen and this launch event is hopefully the start of a fantastic annual event that will celebrate the heritage of our steel making and iron mining history.

“We are grateful to Holker Old Boys of Barrow – a town which has a proud steel making history of its own – for supporting the weekend.

“We’re calling on everyone with a direct or family connection to the steel works or iron mining – and if you don’t, come and find out more about our local history – to come down to Green Lane on the 19th and the 20th July as it will be a fantastic event.”

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen commented: “Our area has an incredible industrial heritage and is it important we pay tribute to that history as we also look forward. The Steel and Iron Cup is a fantastic way of celebrating that past and I look forward to this being the start of a great annual event bringing together steel communities from across the country.”

The Steel & Iron Cup football match will take place between Redcar Athletic and Holker Old Boys at 3pm on Saturday 20th July and will also feature stalls and entertainment at the ground from 12pm. Entry is £5 adults / £3 concessions / £2 under-16s. Tickets can be purchased on the day.

Entertainment on Friday 19th is free of charge.