Sunderland AFC and Foundation of Light have been named the Your Move EFL Community Club of the Year for the North East and Yorkshire.
One of six EFL clubs selected, the winners were chosen for the outstanding impact they continue to have in changing people’s lives for the better across a wide range of areas, including physical and mental wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, employability and tackling loneliness.
Through the Foundation, SAFC have continued to be a driving force for good within the community throughout a uniquely challenging year, working alongside each other, and supporters, on a range of city-wide initiatives.
The #BeAGameChanger campaign and the incredible #SunderlandTogether initiative, which raised over £170,000 for local charities, received special praise from the EFL’s panel of judges.
As did other unique projects, including the continued effort to tackle men’s mental health within the region, which is underpinned by the Beacon of Light and Branch Liaison Council’s mental health hub.
Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison said: “We congratulate the Foundation of Light for this richly deserved award for the fantastic work they continue to undertake within the region.
“Our supporters also deserve immense credit for the inspiring fan-led initiatives that have supported the community over the past year – a period when many have needed it most. Sunderland AFC has an integral part to play within the city and we look forward to continuing to support the people and organisations that make a hugely positive difference each and every day.”
Lesley Spuhler, Foundation of Light Chief Executive said, “This has been a year like no other for all of us. The role that football foundations have played across the country is amazing and shows that football clubs are not just about 90 minutes on a Saturday – they are at the very heart of their communities.
“As we celebrate our twentieth year, to be awarded the Your Move Community Club of the Year for North East and Yorkshire is a perfect way to celebrate the work we have done not only over the last year, but over the last 20 years. It is a real honour and is a source of pride for our staff.
“I am immensely proud of the role they have played in supporting our communities across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham; often going the extra mile despite their own personal challenges as a result of COVID. Of course, we can’t do any of this on our own and as always, thanks must also go to our strategic partners, donors and funders.”
Over the last year, the Foundation has run over 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 charity 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
2021 Your Move Community Clubs of the Year:
- North East & Yorkshire – Sunderland AFC
- North West – Blackburn Rovers
- Midlands – Port Vale
- London – Watford
- South East & East – Portsmouth
- South West & Wales – Bristol Rovers
The six Clubs will receive their awards at a special virtual EFL Community Awards event on Wednesday 28 April. The overall winner will be announced at the EFL Awards, broadcast live on Sky Sports Football on Thursday 29 April at 7.30pm.
14 April 2021