Sunderland AFC and its official charity, Foundation of Light, have come together with other EFL Clubs to highlight the positive impact football has in changing people’s lives and the work taking place to tackle some of society’s biggest issues.
Across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two, events are being held as part of the EFL’s Day of Action, showcasing the very best programmes and activity they deliver in a number of important areas, including diversity and inclusion, education, and health and wellbeing.
Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson and players, Charlie Wyke, Denver Hume, Tom Flanagan and Lee Burge, took time out to join in various activities hosted by the Foundation of Light, as part of the EFL’s Day of Action.
They included netball and boxing with members of the Extra Time Hub, a Q&A with the Foundation’s football scholars, baking with families and honing their engineering skills with local pupils from Monkwearmouth Academy.
Across England, the impact of the work carried out by EFL Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs) is unparalleled, with more than half a million hours of group activity delivered and over 40 million hours of participation each season.
During the 2018-19 season, almost 900,000 people took part in a wide range of activities across key areas, with Clubs and CCOs receiving over £60 million of direct project funding.
Playing its part, the Foundation of Light has worked with over 40,000 people across Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham to improve their access to sport, their knowledge of healthy lifestyles and equip them with life-changing skills and education to progress into employment.
Across the year, the Foundation has delivered a social return on investment of over £111 million – with every pound invested in the award-winning charity, saving the public purse £29 across social care, health service and policing.
Sunderland AFC manager, Phil Parkinson said “Sunderland is a huge club and it plays a vital role the community. The work the Foundation of Light does is incredible, and the Beacon of Light is a fantastic facility, so it’s important that myself and the players support the work undertaken and the people within the local community.”
Foundation of Light Managing Director, Jamie Wright, said “The EFL Day of Action is a great opportunity for football clubs and their community trusts to come together and showcase the fantastic work that is taking place across the country.
“The Foundation delivers over 40 programmes across Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges including obesity, anti-social behaviour and unemployment. Our youngest participant is only weeks old, whilst our oldest is 104, so the impact we have across all sections of the community is unparalleled. We are incredibly proud of the work we do and the impact we have in supporting the region to improve their lives.”
EFL Chairman, Rick Parry, said: “Our clubs have always had a unique position in the heart of their respective towns and cities and it is important that we celebrate the work they carry out, which improves lives and tackles some of society’s biggest issues on a daily basis.
“The recent study commissioned by the EFL shows that clubs’ work in their communities is happening on a huge scale and starts to place a real value on this work, providing further insight into the impact of programmes provided.
“The hours committed by staff and volunteers at clubs, and community trusts, as well as the support from players and managers, demonstrates a remarkable commitment to improving lives up and down the country.”
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Today is #EFLDayofAction! 🙌— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) March 10, 2020
To mark it, Phil Parkinson and members of #SAFC's first-team visited the @SAFCFoL's @BeaconofLight to learn about the different programs available. pic.twitter.com/NdH1nngsqo