Celebration day for families

by Foundation of Light

Graduation Day for Family Learners.

The Foundation of Light honoured hundreds of its family learners at a special graduation ceremony recently to celebrate their achievements.

More than 500 children and adults from across the North East attended the Stadium of Light to be presented with their certificates after completing the charity’s national award winning Family Learning through Football programme.

The guests then took part in games and activities organised by Foundation of Light staff before enjoying a tour of Sunderland AFC’s 49,000 capacity home.

The Foundation of Light’s Assistant Head of Lifelong Learning, Michael Colclough, said: “Each and every person here today deserves the utmost respect because they have achieved so much during their time on the Family Learning programme.

“It’s fantastic seeing families grow closer and develop common interests by just being given the opportunity to learn and have fun together.

“For a number of reasons some families find it difficult to find the time to spend with each other but Family Learning offers them that chance, as well building and improving the relationship between them.

“Attending the Sir Bob Murray graduations at the end of the course gives our learners a tremendous sense of pride that they have accomplished something together and to witness that is so rewarding.”

Run by the Foundation of Light, the 10-week Family Learning through Football course uses the power of football to engage adults and young people in activities that inspire learning and achievement, develop and build new skills, and improve relationships within the family.

Specialist ‘Family Learning’ courses can also improve numeracy and literacy for both adults and children, develop financial awareness and improve awareness of healthy choices which benefit the whole family.

Earlier this year the programme received the national 'Learning Where You Are' award as part of Adult Learners' Week after working with more than 1,500 families across the region in 2011.

Jason Brown, Chairman of the Parent and Teacher Association at Peases West Primary School in Billy Row, County Durham, said:

“Family Learning through Football not only allows parents to enjoy more time with their kids, learning about issues such as fitness, it also provides a stepping stone to skills such as literacy and numeracy that participants may not have been aware of or thought existed.

 “The programme allows those who would normally sit back to increase their confidence and develop leadership skills under different circumstances. There is also the social aspect because it also helps grow friendships with those that were in the past just acquaintances.”

Laura Holliday, who attended the course with seven-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, added: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Family Learning through Football programme, especially the fun and games and coaching side of things.

“The attendance from those associated with the school was brilliant; everyone has been so engrossed in the programme because you get so involved in the sessions. There was a lot of enthusiasm and the kids have been talking about coming to the Stadium of Light for days.

“Attending Family Learning has brought us closer together and we learned a lot from the programme that we didn’t know and now apply at home.”

Family Learning is funded by Caterpillar, Cestria Community Housing, Derwentside Homes, Durham County Council, livin, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.