It was less ‘Shape of You’ and more the shape of pizza boxes this week at St James’ Park ahead of Ed Sheeran’s three date stint in Newcastle.

To get ready for the thousands of people gearing up to hear the pop sensation live, the North East Autism Society had the ‘Perfect’ solution to the club’s preparation problems.

Making the most of the Society’s long-standing relationship with the club, teams of adults from Thornbeck College in Newton Aycliffe, and from New Warland’s Farm Training Centre, County Durham, swapped their usual mail-shot support activities at the football stadium for folding and creating fast food boxes.

New Warlands Farm manager, Ian Patterson, said:

The North East Autism Society has been partnering with Newcastle United Football Club to help us introduce adults with autism, or others with learning difficulties, to workplaces as well as developing skills for independence, social skills and just to be in the community, we’ve been supporting the club with mail-shots at key times, helping with season ticket renewal and other activities. But this was definitely the one our adults liked the most.

Adults from North East Autism Society

With a temporary work station set up in an executive box overlooking the pitch the students from the college and those who are part of vocational training through the North East Autism Society, helped make more than 3000 pizza boxes, before relaxing with a drink in the best seats in the house.

North East Autism Society Director for Education, Chris Dempster, added:

We’re really proud to be able to help the club over the last eight years, but it’s also worth saying that we appreciate Newcastle United supporting individuals with autism in this way. It’s a partnership we hope will continue for many years to come.