Foundation honours youngsters at awards ceremony.
Black Cats’ stars attended an awards ceremony, hosted by the Foundation of Light, to celebrate a year of achievements of the registered charity of Sunderland AFC.
The charity, which worked with more than 42,000 people in 2012 - the youngest being 18 months and the oldest 84 years old - will held its annual ‘Top Scorer’ Awards at the Stadium of Light this week, in the company of Sunderland’s first team players.
18 trophies were awarded over 15 categories including ‘Young Role Model’, ‘Improved Attitude’ and ‘Inspired Learner’ reflecting the broad range of programmes that the Foundation delivers.
Winners were a mix of ages with Primary and Secondary school youngsters honored alongside adults and families.
Six year old Brandon Cree, winner of the ‘Little Star Award’, initially joined the Foundation’s ‘Little Dribblers’ programme at the age of three years. He has now progressed in to Sunderland AFC’s Academy through hard work and application but his father believes the impact of the programme is bigger than just football.
Father Brian Cree commented “The Foundation has been fantastic for him because he gets to meet other kids from other areas, his confidence levels are brilliant and it’s great the stuff that he’s learning; he’s learning to be a better person as well as a better footballer. We’re delighted to have been invited to this event and I’m sure Brandon will remember today for a long time.”
The Patton family faces more challenges than many with parents suffering with from physical and mental health problems and a son with a life limiting illness that can make life very difficult for him. However, the Foundation’s award-winning ‘Family Learning’ programme helped bring the family closer together and give them a more positive outlook. For their part the Patton family’s commitment to each other saw them win the event’s ‘Learning Together Award’.
Speaking about the event Liz Patton said: “We’ve had a great day with our children and it’s a real honour to have been given the award. I don’t think those that support the Foundation always understand how big an impact they have on people’s lives.”
Ian Fishburn, who won the ‘Positive Future Award’ had a troubled childhood raised in care homes and leaving school with no qualifications and no prospects of his future. By taking part in the Foundation of Light’s ‘Back on Track’ programme he was able to gain his first qualifications at the age of 36 and now has a more positive outlook on life.
Ian commented “the whole day has been fantastic. With the help of the Foundation I’ve been able to achieve things I never thought possible and I’m very happy to be here today.”
As well as showcasing achievement and heart-warming personal stories, the event also highlight the wide variety of work undertaken by the Foundation. It also offers Foundation of Light staff the opportunity to thank sponsors and supporters, whilst highlighting the breadth of work that is being delivered to young people and their families.
Speaking about the event, Lesley Spuhler, Foundation of Light CEO said: “Our ‘Top Scorer’ event is one of the high points of our annual calendar and this year’s has been our best yet. We’ve had a challenging but fantastic year and it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate it in the company of so many of our generous partners, supporters and corporate members.
“Our operation has grown at such a rate that it’s more important than ever before that we take the time to recognise and celebrate individual achievement and we are immensely proud of all of today’s winners.”
The Foundation of Light is structurally and financially independent from Sunderland AFC and relies on fundraising for 90% of project costs.
- Ian Fishburn, Positive Future Award sponsored by Profound Services Ltd
- Drew Turner, Rising Star Award sponsored by the Premier League
- Samee Jassat, Young Role Model Award sponsored by Cestria Community Housing
- Heather Campbell, Reach Your Potential Award sponsored by Durham City Council
- Lee Smith, Improved Confidence Award sponsored by Springboard
- Georgina Bresnen, Jordan Fitches, Adam Rousell and Kieran Henderson, Young Enterprise Award sponsored by Caterpillar Peterlee
- Louise Stafford, True Potential Award sponsored by livin
- Brandon Cree, Little Star Award sponsored by SAFC
- Lauren Walker, Inspiring Young Person Award sponsored by Derwentside Homes
- Alex Bagher, Future Workforce Award sponsored by Northumbrian Water
- Kieran Wardale, Team Player Award sponsored by Durham FA
- Imadur Rahman, Improved Attitude Award sponsored by Sunderland City Council Children’s Services
- Laura Harrison, Inspired Learner Award sponsored by South Tyneside MBC
- Matthew Headley, Determined Learner Award sponsored by Sunderland City Council Risk and Resilience
- Patton Family, Learning Together Award sponsored by Sunderland City Council Adult and Community Learning