Newcastle United have become the latest Football League Club to launch their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Run by the club's charity, the Newcastle United Foundation, 21 youngsters aged between 14 and 16 are beginning a six month programme to gain their Bronze Award - the first of three levels available under the scheme - through volunteering, skills, physical and expeditionary challenges.

And Magpies midfield hero, Danny Guthrie met up with the first group of lucky youngsters at St James' Park to wish them luck and underline the importance of their task ahead.

"It is a pleasure for me to come along this evening and launch the Duke of Edinburgh Award," said the 22-year-old.

"Schemes like this give youngsters a terrific grounding in life, build character and provide many 'life skills' that will prove invaluable in years to come.

"They all deserve great credit and I wish them every success in their ventures."

Over 400 young people are registered on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which is underway at 23 Football League clubs across the country as a result with the charity and The Football League.

Football features heavily throughout the programme with the participants volunteering on the Foundation's coaching programmes, learning new football skills plus keeping fit by attending weekly coaching centres. A two day camping and orienteering expedition in Northumberland, led by qualified expedition leaders, has also been arranged.

"Funding from the Football League Trust has enabled us to launch this new Duke of Edinburgh programme," added Kate Bradley, Newcastle United Foundation Manager.

"It means we can help a group of young people develop valuable skills and knowledge that will be a useful addition to their CV.

"The programme is held in high regard by both colleges and employers, particularly important in this climate of high unemployment among young people."

Full list of participating clubs:

Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Doncaster Rovers, Exeter, Hartlepool United, Huddersfield United, Millwall, Milton Keynes Dons, Newcastle United, Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Oldham Athletic, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Reading, Rotherham United, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend United, Tranmere Rovers, Watford

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