Families graduate from football learning course

Jill McVeigh (front left) and Matt Hill (front right) of the SAFC Foundation  with pupils and families from Dene House School in Peterlee during a graduation ceremony held at Sunderland Stadium of Light.

Jill McVeigh (front left) and Matt Hill (front right) of the SAFC Foundation with pupils and families from Dene House School in Peterlee during a graduation ceremony held at Sunderland Stadium of Light.

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FOOTBALL-MAD families have graduated from a special learning programme.

Hundreds of youngsters and their parents were at the Stadium of Light to celebrate passing the Family Learning Through Football programme.

Run by the SAFC Foundation, the course uses the power of football to improve relationships within families by inspiring learning and achievement and developing new skills.

More than 750 families from Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham attended the Sir Bob Murray Family Learning graduations after participating in the 10-week programme.

Those graduating got a certificate and goody bag during the graduation ceremony, before being given a tour of the 48,000-seater stadium.

They also took part in family-themed games in the Premier Concourse and had a visit to the Foundation’s active bus.

“One of the main aims is to improve relations within the family, to have that extra one-on-one time, improving the bond and communication,” said Matt Hill, head of life-long learning at the Foundation.

“We work on children’s physical and emotional development and provide courses on literacy and numeracy as well as healthy life-style programmes.”

The graduations are sponsored by former SAFC chairman and SAFC Foundation Chairman of Trustees Sir Bob Murray CBE.

Mum Julie Richardson, of Durham, who attended the course with her son Andrew, said: “We’ve had a lot of fun. It’s nice to spend some quality time together as a family and the Family Learning course has given us that.

“Now Andrew feels I’m more involved in what he does at school too.

“The physical sessions were the best bits of the course as there’s not always the opportunity to do those at home and we’ve learned new games we can play as a family.”

The 10-week Family Learning programme takes place in primary schools on Wearside and across the North East.

It worked with more than 1,500 families last year.

The programme is funded by Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, South Tyneside Council and Cestria Community Housing.

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