Sunderland AFC players and their manager, Phil Parkinson, are backing Foundation of Light’s match day campaign dedicated to reducing social isolation in the North East.
The ‘Give a Quid for Social Isolation’ campaign aims to raise £30,000 to help people access activities that can reduce loneliness and improve physical and mental health.
The Black Cats take on Blackpool on 14th December at the Stadium of Light and the match is being dedicated to the club’s charity, to raise awareness and funds for its award-winning programmes across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.
Research shows there are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK and lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression.
Studies also show that 42% of those over the age of 55 are inactive and would like opportunities to meet peers to feel less isolated, live well and do things they enjoy.
Fans can donate to the campaign via the Foundation of Light website, in person at the Beacon of Light or at the bucket collection at the match on 14th December.
Until 10th December donations can also be made through the Big Give where they could be boosted by match-funding.
This week the Foundation also launched an online auction to help raise funds towards the campaign, featuring exclusive items signed by Sunderland AFC stars from past and present.
Signed match worn shirts from the Blackpool game will be available to bid on from 15th December with listings ending in time for Christmas delivery.
Speaking about the campaign Duncan Watmore said: “We’re very proud to support ‘Give a Quid for Social Isolation’, helping raise vital funds to prevent loneliness and social isolation in Sunderland, County Durham and South Tyneside.
“The campaign highlights the challenges faced by those in our communities who can sometimes be forgotten about at Christmas and we’re encouraging fans to not only donate but reach out to those in their neighbourhoods who might not have anyone.”
Foundation of Light runs a series of programmes for older generations at the Beacon of Light and throughout the region from its outreach centres.
From walking football and walking netball, through to ‘Sit and Be Fit’ and the EFL Extra Time Hubs project which has engaged participants in activities as diverse as ukulele playing, cooking, walks and bowls, the award-winning charity works hard to ensure everyone has a chance of a healthier and happier life regardless of age.
Luke O’Nien added: “Thanks to the Foundation of Light, older people in Sunderland have access to activities that keep them fit, healthy and happy. However, with the support of fans and the local community ‘Give a Quid for Social Isolation’ could help so many more people take part, preventing loneliness and social isolation.”
The first ‘Give a Quid’ campaign, launched in March 2019 and raised just over £30,000 to support the charity’s work across the North East to improve people’s mental health.
The campaign’s success helped fund the recently-opened Mental Health Matchday Hub, an informal drop in centre accessible to home and away fans at the Beacon of Light, coordinated by the SAFC Supporters Branch Liaison Council, with support from Washington Mind.
Additionally, Foundation of Light launched the ‘Get Set to Go!’ mental health project in October and earlier this year a Veterans Mental Health Complex Treatment Service opened at the Beacon of Light, in partnership with the NHS.
How to get involved
A fundraising pack is available on the Foundation of Light website for businesses or community organisations who want to get involved. Businesses who support the campaign can receive visits from the Black Cats’ mascots Samson and Delilah, and Foundation of Light social media team to help with fundraising and raise awareness of this life-changing work.
There are lots of ways you can get involved. Why not organise a red and white day at work? Or get out of the office at lunch time and enjoy a ‘wellbeing walk’. Or maybe get together to chat over lunch with friends and colleagues.
If you are a business and would like to get involved, contact email@example.com or call Clare on 0191 563 4777 to find out more.
To find out more about the Foundation of Light’s work visit www.foundationoflight.co.uk.
Donations to the Give a Quid campaign can be made in person at the Beacon of Light, or online via the Foundation of Light website.
Join the conversation on social media using #FoLGiveaQuid: