A LANDMARK agreement has been signed to help improve the lives of thousands of youngsters on Wearside.
SAFC Foundation and Sunderland City Council signed a deal which will see them work together to find education, health and well-being provision in the “most cost-efficient way”.
Sunderland AFC vice-chairman David Miliband met council leader Paul Watson and its chief executive Dave Smith, as well as the Foundation’s chief executive Lesley Spuhler to sign the agreement.
The Foundation, set up a decade ago, helps about 30,000 children each year.
Last year, along with 96 schools in the area, the council and foundation invested more than £1.5million towards community projects.
The work helped to support more than 25,000 youngsters and their families through football-related programmes.
Mr Miliband, Labour MP for South Shields, said: “SAFC Foundation is a prime example of how a football club can engage and inspire its local community.
“This partnership with Sunderland City Council will allow both organisations to be more effective and efficient, when it comes to improving the quality of life for all in the region.”
Joint initiatives include Pitstop, which helps children who have been excluded from school or are on the verge of exclusion, Family Learning through Football, and Tackle It – an anti-bullying programme.
Coun Watson said: “Through forming this partnership, we are making a clear commitment to the people of Sunderland that we are dedicated to real social and economic change within the region.
“Our ambition for the region is unsurpassed, and by working together with SAFC Foundation we feel that we can help make Sunderland a place everyone can be proud of.”