Foundation of Light has won one of the most prestigious awards in football in recognition of its life-changing community work across Sunderland, County Durham and South Tyneside.
The registered charity of Sunderland AFC won the ‘Best Football Community Scheme - Non Premier League’ title at the Football Business Awards, hosted at London’s City Central at the HAC this week.
Launched in 2001, the charity has positively impacted the lives of over 400,000 people across the north east, working with thousands each week in sport, education, employability and health programmes.
The prestigious award rounds off a great year for Foundation of Light, which recently celebrated its 18th birthday with Chair of Trustees Sir Bob Murray CBE at the Beacon of Light, heralding the organisation’s longevity and passion for improving local lives.
The £19 million Beacon of Light is home to the Foundation and is the first not-for-profit building of its kind in the UK. As a community hub it offers sport, education, employability and health programmes for all ages, with all proceeds being donated to the Foundation of Light to support its award-winning programmes across the North East.
Opened in 2018, in it’s first year of trading the Beacon itself has won nine awards, including being recognised in the Royal Institute of British Architects Great British Buildings programme last month.
Speaking about being crowned one of the best football foundations in the country, Foundation of Light CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win such a prestigious award and are grateful to the Football Business Awards Judging Panel for recognising our hard work in making a difference to our region.
“This award is testament to our staff whose passion and commitment has changed the lives of tens of thousands of local people over the last 12 months.”
Foundation of Light Chair of Trustees, Sir Bob Murray CBE said: “We are delighted that the Foundation has been recognised as the best Non Premier League Community scheme at the Football Business Awards.
“In the last 18 years we have won a lot of awards but to be recognised within football as well as community is very special for me personally.
“Thank you to all of our donors, funders, supporters, partners, staff, volunteers and participants who have all played a part in our fantastic success. We truly appreciate it.”
Last week, the Foundation launched a special match day campaign which aims to raise £30,000 to reduce social isolation in the North East.
‘Give a Quid for Social Isolation’ aims to help people access activities that reduce loneliness and improve physical and mental health, and will culminate in a dedicated SAFC match on 14th December, when the Lads play Blackpool in Sky Bet League One.
To find out more about the Foundation of Light and to donate to the Give a Quid campaign visit www.foundationoflight.co.uk