SATURDAY’S clash between Sunderland and Manchester United will kick start a celebration of a charity’s good work.
The fixture between the Black Cats and the reigning champions has been designated Foundation Day in honour of the work carried by the Wearside club’s official charity, Foundation of Light.
Sunderland players will be sporting shirts bearing the Foundation’s logo, which will then be signed and auctioned off on eBay to raise funds for the charity’s range of education, sports, health and community engagement programmes.
Each year its work benefits more than 42,000 people in the North East.
A number of the Foundation’s beneficiaries will also take part in a parade around the Stadium of Light pitch prior to the game, with activities on the pitch at half time.
Margaret Byrne, Sunderland AFC’s chief executive officer, said: “Everyone at the football club is extremely proud of the work undertaken by the Foundation of Light, and we are delighted to be able to give them the opportunity to showcase this valuable work to a worldwide audience at Saturday’s game.”
The Foundation of Light, which launched in 2001, is financially independent of the football club and relies on fund-raising for more than 90 per cent of its project costs.
This weekend’s game, which kicks off at 5.30pm, will also serve as the official launch of the charity’s new Friends of the Foundation scheme, which is being set up as a boost to fund-raising and to encourage community involvement.
As part of the scheme, which costs £10 to join, supporters will receive entry into regular prize draws to win signed SAFC items and match tickets, as well as discounts to selected Foundation of Light events and sports coaching courses.
Lesley Spuhler, chief executive officer of the Foundation of Light, said: “Being able to launch this scheme and engage with the fans at SAFC’s match with Manchester United is a great opportunity for us, and I would like to thank everyone at SAFC for their on-going support.”