Round-up: Magic March at the Foundation of Light

Round-up: Magic March at the Foundation of Light

From our dedicated matchday and biggest fundraising event of the calendar to crowning our community champion, March brought lots to shout about at the Foundation of Light.

Foundation of Light Day

Sunderland AFC dedicated their Championship match against Queens Park Rangers to the Foundation of Light and our Heart on your Sleeve campaign.

For this year's dedicated matchday, Hays Travel donated their sponsorship space meaning the Black Cats donned a one-off shirt featuring our Heart on your Sleeve logo on their sleeves.

Ahead of the game, local organisations rallied behind the Foundation hosting their own Red and White Days. 

Coaches and participants took to the Stadium of Light turf at half-time for a showcase of Foundation programmes and to thank SAFC supporters for their ongoing support.

The limited edition shirts then went to auction after the game, with all proceeds supporting Foundation of Light. 

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Jill Scott joins Foundation

March 8th was International Women’s Day and we marked the day with the announcement that former Lioness Jill Scott has joined the Board of Trustees at the Foundation of Light. 

The European champion and Queen of the Jungle has taken on the role with Sunderland AFC’s official charity, following an invite from former Black Cats Chairman Sir Bob Murray and Foundation Chief Executive Lesley Spuhler.  

The appointment is a very proud moment for Jill, who started her career pathway with the Foundation when she was 17-years-old: “I love coming back to Sunderland, especially the Stadium of Light and the Beacon of Light, it brings back all the memories I have of playing football and going to the games with my Grandad,” the former Lioness explained.  

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Pierre Ekwah named Community Champion

Last week we announced that midfielder Pierre Ekwah has been named as Foundation of Light’s Community Champion by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) for the 2023-24 season.

After being presented with the award, Ekwah said: “I didn’t know about it, but it definitely was a nice surprise.

“It’s really important, whether it’s kids, people my age or older, it’s nice to give back to the community.

“They support us every single day and at the stadium every matchday, I just think it’s great as players to come and give back to them any way we can.”

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Black Cats stars join World Book Day celebrations

March also brought the return of World Book Day for 2024 and we hosted more than 60 local primary school students for book-related activities at the Beacon of Light.

SAFC’s Dan Ballard and our Community Champion Pierre Ekwah surprised participants at the Beacon of Light, speaking to them about their costumes, favourite books, and inevitably about football and Sunderland AFC.

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Foundation and Harrison Centre extends partnership

Hundreds of young people on Wearside will continue to access vital education and employment skills after the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility renewed its partnership with the Foundation of Light.

Based at the Beacon of Light, the collaboration will ensure another year of tuition and training from the Harrison Centre to help unemployed and young people who have recently left school to grow in confidence, gain qualifications and skills and ultimately secure a job.

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Coaches’ Coffee Club with SAFC Women Management

Coaches’ Coffee Club returned for 2024 with an International Women’s Day special featuring Mel Reay and Steph Libbey.

The management team of promotion-chasing Sunderland AFC Women sat down with Jack Gray for a chat about their coaching journeys, women’s football, and The Lasses’ season.

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Elsewhere in March

We launched our Easter activities at the Beacon of Light including the half-term holiday courses and Family Fun Day.

Foundation of Light supported Sunderland AFC in hosting their dedicated Level Playing Field matchday, uniting to celebrate good access and inclusion at sports venues. 

We announced that our annual Golf Day will take place on Thursday 25th July. For more details, click here.

We were awarded a £10,000 grant from the Sky Bet EFL Building Foundations Fund to the Wear Together programme.

On No Smoking Day, we encouraged people to make the important change by sharing the timeline of what happens when you stop smoking.

After announcing the winners of the Lance Hardy Writing Competition in February, we shared the winning pieces at the start of March. Read here

Our Heart on your Sleeve footballs, designed by Adrian Britton in our Design a Ball competition, arrived at the Beacon of Light. They were a hit, selling out quickly with all proceeds supporting Foundation of Light. 

Stagecoach on board to support Holiday Courses

18 April 2024

Scores of youngsters enjoyed a day at the Beacon of Light with a difference thanks to Stagecoach Group after the UK's largest transport operator gave their backing to the Foundation's half-term holiday courses.