Entering its 18th year, the Foundation of Light has achieved some remarkable success in 2019 including being named as the Best Football Community Scheme outside of the Premier League at the prestigious Football Business Awards. This is an accolade which is richly deserved by all the staff, participants, volunteers who make this charity so special.
The Foundation has won 12 awards – national and regional – for its work in sport, education, employability and wellbeing across Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham.
The Beacon of Light, which was officially opened in March by Her Royal Highness Countess of Wessex GCVO, has won 10 of those awards alone; including being recognised in the Royal Institute of British Architects’ ‘Great British Buildings 2019’.
With a turnover of just under £5m, the social return on investment of the Foundation’s work in 2018/19 is reported as into the millions of pounds, with 40 programmes delivering over 394,000 aggregate contact hours across 41,000 delivery sessions, supporting over 20,500 programme registrants.
At a time when arguably things are financially and socially tough for so many, the Foundation’s work is more important than ever to support and protect our communities. In this year alone, over 17,000 people across the region have improved their confidence, self-worth and motivation, over 11,000 have improved behaviour and attitude, and nearly 3,000 have reduced their likelihood to be involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.
The charity has improved access to sport for over 14,000 people, working with nearly 2,500 people with a registered disability and improving job prospects for over 1,800 people.
SAFC fans too have played an important part in that success. Since April 2019, over £48,000 has been raised by fans to tackle mental health and social isolation in our communities as part of the ‘Give a Quid’ campaigns. As a result, the Foundation has been able to fund the SAFC Branch Liaison Council’s Match Day Mental Health Hub directly from money raised by fans, ensuring supporters who are struggling with anxiety, stress or depression can seek support from their peers and a trained counsellor.
As we look forward to 2020, the Foundation of Light would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the charity this year. Together we have made a difference.
Written By Kay James
31 December 2019