Club celebrate special Foundation Day

by Kate Smith

Players to wear one-off shirts on Saturday.

Sunderland AFC will celebrate ‘Foundation Day’ at the club’s forthcoming Barclays Premier League game against Arsenal’ in honour of club’s registered charity, the Foundation of Light.

Taking place on Saturday 9th February, the aim of the day is to raise awareness and funds for the organisation, which worked with more than 40,000 children and adults last year.

Prior to kickoff Sunderland’s players will warm up wearing t-shirts bearing the Foundation’s logo and Twitter username (@SAFCFoL). They will also be welcomed to the pitch by participants from the Foundation’s hugely successful community programmes waving Foundation of Light flags.

During the match the Black Cats stars will wear one-off match shirts bearing the Foundation’s logo, which will then be individually signed and auctioned off after the game in aid of the charity.

At half time X Factor finalist Carolynne Poole will draw the half time ‘Grand in your Hand’ lottery. Carolynne was recently announced as the first Ambassador for the Foundation and will help raise the profile of the charity over the coming months.

Foundation of Light Trustees Ellis Short, Sir Bob Murray CBE, Sir Tim Rice, Kate Adie OBE, Baroness Estelle Morris of Yardley and Sir Peter Vardy will present Foundation Chief Executive Lesley Spuhler with a symbolic cheque for £15 million at pitch side, representing the total sum that the organisation has raised and invested into the local community since its formation in 2001.

Participants from the Foundation’s Family Learning, Heart of the Game and Little Dribblers programmes will also take to the pitch at half time showing off some of the charity’s work first hand.

Finally, participants from some of the Foundation’s recent fundraising activities will lap the pitch raising awareness for the type of activity fans can get involved in to support the charity. Upcoming events include a Dublin to Sunderland Cycle challenge, zip wire from the top of the Stadium of Light across the River Weir, runs at the Lambton Estate in County Durham and the Marathon of the North.

Established 11 years ago by former Sunderland AFC Chairman Sir Bob Murray CBE, the Foundation of Light is one of the biggest and most developed football foundations in the world. Structurally and financially independent from the football club, the Foundation relies on fundraising for 95% of project costs every year.

Speaking ahead of the event, Foundation of Light CEO Lesley Spuhler said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve received from Sunderland AFC, including the directors and players, in holding our second Foundation Day. Sunderland AFC were the first club to support their Foundation with a similar day last season at our Chelsea game, and the fact that the club have now made it an annual event says a lot about their commitment to both the Foundation and the community.

“We hope that fans will enjoy the activities on the day and become motivated to learn more about us, and eventually become a part of our continuing success.”

A ‘Friend of the Foundation’ initiative will also be launched at the game aimed at helping community spirited individuals become involved in supporting positive change in the region.

For further information about the Foundation of Light follow @SAFCFoL on Twitter.