Young gymnasts supported by a national foundation have been showcasing their skills.
Former prime minister Tony Blair visited Tyneside Gymnastics Club, based in Hawkeys Lane, North Shields, to see the progress they had made under the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.
The club started as a class of just five students in 2010, but today has over 100 members, in part thanks to the support of TBSF.
Mr Blair also awarded certificates to the TBSF Young Helpers and coaches who have recently qualified as well as meeting volunteers to talk about their stories of participating in sport through the foundation – both how they have become more involved in sport and how they have helped others to get involved too.
He said: “I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of my time in the north east over the years and I know the quality of the people here. I am delighted that, since 2007, our foundation has recruited, trained and placed over 4,400 new coaches in schools and clubs, right across the north east.”
Mr Blair added: “Being involved in sport, showing commitment to being part of a community and challenging yourself to get better can completely change a child’s life.
“It can help improve school performance, and can keep young people on the straight and narrow. The north east has one of the worse levels of health in England, so we have to give our young people the chance to transform their futures, build their confidence and be part of a community.”