Families graduate at the SoL

Light Learners receive plaudits.

Sir Bob Murray CBE attended the recent Foundation of Light Family Learners special graduation ceremony.

Former Sunderland AFC Chairman Sir Bob Murray CBE honoured the Foundation of Light's Family Learners in a special graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

More than 750 children and adults from across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham attended the Stadium of Light to receive their certificates after completing the charity's award-winning Family Learning through Football programme.

The families also took part in games and activities organised by Foundation of Light staff, including a special Niall's Mile walk around the stadium.

Sir Bob Murray, who founded the Foundation of Light in 2001 and is now the charity's Chairman of Trustees, said: "All of our learners deserve this graduation, and we offer our massive congratulations to each and every one of them. I hope they have enjoyed their special day celebrating together.

"Every person here has faced challenges in their lives but they've stood up to them and in many cases overcome them.

"For that I take my hat off to them. They've got all of my respect."

Earlier this year, the Family Learning through Football programme received the national 'Learning Where You Are' award at a special NIACE ceremony in London as part of Adult Learners' Week.

Run by the Foundation of Light, the 10-week 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.

In 2011, the programme worked with more than 1,500 families across the region.

"We've had a lot of fun," said Susan Smith, who completed the course with son eight-year-old son Archie. "It's nice to spend some quality time together as a family and the programme has given us the opportunity to do that.

"Completing the course and being invited to attend a graduation ceremony here at the Stadium of Light provides a real sense of achievement.

"It's been a great experience and we've really enjoyed being part of it all."

The Foundation of Light (formerly known as SAFC Foundation) is the registered charity of Sunderland AFC which works with more than 40,000 people every year.

The organisation uses the power of football to involve, educate and inspire young people, families through a broad range of innovative programmes helping improve lives across the North East.

Structurally and financially independent of the football club the organisation relies on fundraising for 95% of project costs.