Sunderland AFC lights the way for disabled children

SAFC Foundation of Light coach Jamie Wilson with Sara Berry and her six-year-old son Jack.
SAFC Foundation of Light coach Jamie Wilson with Sara Berry and her six-year-old son Jack.
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A DEDICATED mum is hoping to shed light on the importance of education for disabled children.

Sara Berry, of South Hylton, credits The Foundation of Light for changing the life of her son Jack, six, as well as her own.

Jack, who attends Columbia Grange School, Washington, suffers from autism.

Sara thought his illness would impact on both of their lives, but last year, as part of the Making Moves programme which Jack is enrolled in, she took part in a family learning through football course which lead to her enrol at Sunderland College, and she is now a qualified counsellor.

“I feel like I’ve picked myself up from being nothing, to something,” she said. “The programme has given my a life and lead me to achieve things that I never thought I would.

“And it helps Jack. I thought he wouldn’t be able to do anything, but he is learning, and making friends and developing skills.

“What the Foundation has given us is invaluable, so I want to give something back.”

The 33-year-old, who takes her boy to a Making Moves class at Springwell Health Centre, has organised a night to promote the programme and the charity, which Sunderland AFC official charity.

On Sunday representatives from the Foundation, based at the Stadium of Light, as well as councillors, and Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson, will attend a presentation given by Sara at Starbucks in The Bridges.

“I want to show that even though these children are disabled they can still do sports, and still have goals and achieve them,” said Sara, who has also raised more than £1,000 for sporting equipment for the fund.

“I think it will be a good opportunity for people to see that anything is possible if you believe in them.”

SAFC mascots Sampson and Delilah will be in attendance, along with 35 children from the Making Moves programme.

Football development director from the Foundation of Light, Graham Robinson, said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the hard work that Sara has put into raising funds for the Making Moves programme.

“Disability sport and disability awareness are two areas of work that are vitally important to the Foundation and the wider community.

“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

The presentation will start at 6.30pm. All are welcome.