Town have linked up with Needham Market in a partnership that will see Blues look to loan young players to the Southern Premier Division club in one of many benefits across a range of levels.
Needham, who are managed by former Town midfielder and Northern Ireland international Kevin Horlock, will also provide an option for any Academy player released by Blues who wants to continue their pathway in football.
A pre-season friendly involving the two clubs is in the planning while the Town’s Community Trust will have access to Needham’s excellent facilities, including a 3G pitch, to use for their coaching programmes.
Needham Market Academy students will also have the opportunity to take part in work experience, coaching within the Community Trust, shadowing key staff and providing a pathway into a career in coaching.
“We are delighted to be working with another great local football club like Needham Market,” said Town’s general manager of football operations, Lee O'Neill.
“Rob Peace and Graham Emmerson, along with others at the club have worked hard to build a really good facility and programme at first-team and Academy level.
“The relationship sits alongside Ipswich Town’s strategy to work closely with a number of good local organisations. Jason will work closely through community aspects and the Club with co-ordinate plans with sharing training facilities and coach/player development.”
Jason Curtis, head of ITFC Community Trust, added: “Ipswich Town Community Trust is delighted to be working with Needham Market Football Club. Their facilities are second to none, which will naturally create the right environment for players within our programmes.
“This will allow both organisations to provide endless opportunities and experiences which will be exciting for everyone involved.”
Robert Peace, NMFC operations and Academy director, said: “It is fantastic to be back associated with Ipswich Town. With us being located in mid Suffolk it is a perfect fit to work together with ITFC to best benefit Suffolk football.
“With the introduction of the Community Trust, ITFC have refocused on the community and look to be more inclusive to key clubs / organisations within the local area.
“This will benefit the vision we have within NMFC and benefit children within Suffolk, providing a high standard of football and a potential pathway into the professional game.”
Graham Emmerson, NMFC chief executive said: “We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship developing between our clubs which can only enhance opportunities for aspiring youngsters in the county.”