Community work showcased during Day of Action
Sunderland AFC and its official charity, Foundation of Light, have come together to join other football clubs to mark the fifth EFL Day of Action. All 72 clubs from the three EFL divisions have united to demonstrate the impact that football makes in positively changing people’s lives. Black Cats Lynden Gooch, Tom Flanagan and Aiden O’Brien showed their support by taking part in activities hosted by the Foundation of Light. Midfielder Gooch surprised youngsters on a football holiday course when he dropped in via Zoom for chat. The group were keen to hear more about his match-winning goal in the Papa John’s Trophy Final at Wembley – and who was the best dancer in the dressing room! Tom Flanagan and Aiden O’Brien joined some of the Foundation’s older participants, following their weekly online seated exercise class as part of the EFL’s Extra Time Hub programme. After the session, Northern Irish international Flanagan said: “I met the members of the Extra Time Hub at the Beacon of Light last year, so it was nice to have the chance to catch up with them again and see how they’ve been doing.
To know that the Foundation offer this service to help keep everyone connected is great; even before the pandemic and lockdown, but even more so during what we’ve all been through. Knowing supporters have been able to have someone to talk to, to keep in touch and have regular social interaction makes a big difference to someone’s dayOver the last year, SAFC’s official charity has held more than 10,000 sessions across a portfolio of 40 programmes, working with over 320 families, 100 schools and supported 2,200 people with a registered disability. The Foundation has played a critical role in the region’s COVID-19 response including:
- Supporting over 100 furloughed or newly unemployed people through 15 new, free and specifically designed employability programmes
- Engaged over 8,000 primary school programmes in online PE and PHSE sessions during lockdown
- Supported over 1,500 isolated older people with care packages, telephone befriending, activity packs and online activity sessions
- Over 100 members of staff volunteered to support the Sunderland Foodbank and Salvation Army, delivering food parcels and packages to those in need