Round Up: November 2023 at the Foundation of Light

Round Up: November 2023 at the Foundation of Light

November culminated in our Gala Awards Dinner, a highlight in our calendar, and there was plenty more going on around the Foundation of Light throughout the month.

Gala Awards Dinner

At the end of the month, we celebrated the inspirational stories of 16 Foundation participants who overcame adversity to live happier and healthier lives.

Held at the Foundation’s home, the Beacon of Light, the evening raised over £80,000 to support the charity’s work across the region.

Hosted by Sky Sports presenters David Jones and Tom White, over 300 guests were treated to performances from hit theatre show The Sunderland Story and chart-topper Jason Donovan. 

Black Cats stars Luke O’Nien, Trai Hume and Niall Huggins joined former players Kevin Phillips and Marco Gabbiadini to help present awards to the winners.

Find out more about the evening and our winners here: Full Story

Sunderland Street Soccer reach London Stadium semi-final

Participants from the Street Soccer Academy had the chance to play at the London Stadium in the ‘Football for Good Trophy’ on Sunday, 19 November.

The Street Soccer Foundation is a ten-week personal development course uses football as a catalyst to engage participants in positive mindset training, mentoring support, football coaching and employability workshops.

Participants are 18 to 30-year-olds, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by not being in education, employment, or training.

Alongside the workshops, the Street Soccer programme brings opportunities to compete, such as the ‘Football for Good Trophy’ held at the iconic home of West Ham United.

The Sunderland side qualified through the group stages before falling agonisingly to Salford City’s Foundation 92 on penalties in the semi-final.

Find out more about the event and the programme: Full Story

SAFC Academy Careers Fair

The Beacon of Light played host to a Careers Fair for Sunderland AFC’s academy players in November.

Players from the Black Cats’ U18s and U21s teams continued their development both on and off the field, given the chances to consider their wider talents and interests outside of football at the fair organised by the club and the Foundation of Light.

For more about the event and some of the organisations involved, click here: Full Story

PL Kicks Protect the Planet Presentation

Foundation of Light representatives exhibited their Protect the Planet project at the Protect the Planet event on Tuesday 21 November.

Their project was to turn their Premier League Kicks sites into more sustainable environments, such as transforming a waste piece of ground at Delves Lane Village Hall into a sustainable garden and adding recycling bins to the centre.

To find out more about the project, click here: Full Story

Utilita Community Organisation of the Month

We were honoured to be selected by SAFC star Jack Clarke as his Utilita Community Organisation of the Month.

The 23-year-old joined us at the Beacon of Light to hand over the prize, which comes with a £500 donation.

Jack visited several Foundation of Light sessions during the visit as he learned more about the range of programmes that we deliver. The visit rounded off a fantastic EFL Week of Action at the Foundation of Light.

For more on Jack’s visit to the Beacon, click here: Full Story

EFL Week of Action

From Monday 6 November to Friday 10 November we took part in EFL Week of Action as we worked with Sunderland AFC to highlight some of the most impactful community projects delivered by the Foundation.

The action-packed week started with a visit from 10 members of the Sunderland AFC first-team squad, who took part in a talk and tour of the Beacon of Light.

The players were given the chance to see how the Foundation uses the power of football and Sunderland AFC to make a difference in the community, touring the Arriva World of Work zones, rooftop pitch, and indoor arena.

Sessions such as Ha’way and Weigh, Every Player Counts, Wear Together, and football scholarship training were underway, and the Black Cats stars were happy to engage with the participants and even join in.

Throughout the week, we continued to highlight some of the work done by the Foundation. Find out more about our EFL Week of Action here: Full Story

CEO Sleepout

At the start of November, Foundation of Light Managing Director, Jamie Wright, took part in CEO Sleepout at the Stadium of Light, raising £710 towards the cause.

CEO Sleepout helps to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty, raising vital funds for relevant charities, as business and community leaders from across the North East spend one night sleeping outdoors.

Lance Hardy Writing Competition

Towards the end of October, we launched a special writing competition in memory of much-loved author, Lance Hardy, who started writing I’d Do It All Again with Sir Bob Murray before sadly passing away in 2021.

Throughout November, we received entries for the competition and hosted writing workshops with participants of Foundation programmes alongside the competition.

The closing date for entries was Friday 24 November, and the judging process is due to get underway, with winners to be announced in due course.

Also in November:

Samson joined Primary Stars students from local schools at the Beacon of Light to celebrate Nursery Rhyme Day.

Former Player Development Centre and Regional Talent Centre players Emily Cassap and Niamh Boothroyd received international callups, representing England U17 and Northern Ireland U17 respectively.

Primary Stars and Premier League Inspires learners learned more about Remembrance Day and created decorative poppies to be displayed at the Beacon of Light.

We launched our Festive Holiday Clubs which will run on 21-22 December and 3-4 January. To check booking availability: Click Here

Players to wear Heart on Sleeve for Foundation

21 February 2024

When the Black Cats host QPR at the Stadium of Light next month, the club will host Foundation of Light Day, the biggest fundraising event of the calendar, to support the work of the Foundation of Light.