HUNDREDS of youngsters who took part in a community football project celebrated their success at a special graduation ceremony.
More than 300 parents and children who took part in the Family Learning through Football programme, attended the event at the Stadium of Light.
Run by the Foundation of Light, Sunderland AFC’s official charity, the 10-week scheme is run in primary schools, using the power of sport to engage families in activities that “inspire learning and achievement”.
The sessions also aim to develop new skills and improve relationships.
The event was sponsored by Sir Bob Murray, former chairman of the club and founder of the Foundation of Light.
John Newton, a family learning officer with the charity who helps run the project, said the ceremony was a great opportunity to bring together people from across the city to mark their achievements.
“It’s been a very, very good day,” he told the Echo.
“It’s always nice to bring everyone together in one place to celebrate their hard work, to recognise their achievements.
“They have all been fantastic. We want to congratulate them all.”
Last year, the programme worked with more than 1,750 families across the region.
“The courses are run every term, across the area, and are proving very successful,” said John.
“We’ve had a really good turn out. The families really enjoy them.
“We get good feedback from those who have taken part.”
Parent Klaire Ferry, 43, from Hendon, and her children Ash, seven, and Sorrel, four, were among those who completed the project.
The self-employed massage therapist said her local sessions, which were held at Grangetown Primary, proved a hit with residents.
“Everyone really seemed to get involved,” she said.
“The children loved it. They took part in coaching sessions and activity days.
“They couldn’t get enough of it.
“It was also a great way for children to meet other children and parents to meet other parents.”