Injured Newcastle star Rob Elliot did his bit for the community on Tuesday.

Not expected back until the Championship season is well under way, the Newcastle keeper has returned to light training.

At the weekend Rob Elliot revealed he had taken a personal call from Rafa Benitez when the Matz Sels transfer was going through, the Newcastle boss telling Elliot not to worry as he rated him as a keeper and he remained in his plans.

Rather than 52,000 match goers though, it was 300 young people and their families who were at St. James Park on Tuesday to celebrate their graduation from Newcastle United Foundation’s Family Learning programme.

Family Learning is an after-school club for children and their parents or guardians that aims to help participants become stronger, healthier families while also aiming to give participating adults the confidence to explore further learning.

The programme, supported by the Big Lottery Fund, combines classroom-based learning with physical activities and football. The blend of the programme and the mix of physical activities and in-class activities is an important feature making it inclusive and broadening the appeal.

Tuesday’s event was the second celebration this year for the programme, which has worked with 4,312 participants in 41 schools across Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Taking a break from his comeback training, Rob Elliot was guest of honour and presented certificates to each of the participants and awards to the top performers.

Rob Elliot:

“It was the second time I had been along to this event and each time I have been so impressed by the achievements of those attending,” said the Republic of Ireland international.

“It was an absolute pleasure to celebrate with them – well done to everyone.”

Mark Bertram, Newcastle United Foundation project coordinator:

“The commitment and enthusiasm from the families towards the programme has been fantastic – each person should feel incredibly proud of what they have achieved.

“They have all made a difference to their lives, whether that’s through learning something new, gaining a qualification or becoming a little fitter and healthier.

“I would also like to thank Rob for taking the time out to support us – we really appreciate it.”

For more information on Newcastle United Foundation visit, like Newcastle United Foundation on Facebook or follow @nu_foundation on Twitter.

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