Two North East charities are to benefit from a generous gesture from Ebac Northern League club Sunderland RCA.
The Ryhope club have revealed that they will display the logos of the Bradley Lowery Foundation and the If U Care Share Foundation on their kits next season.
The gesture was confirmed as part of a new kit deal that RCA have agreed with Teesside-based sportswear manufacturer Farrellys Sport.
The Bradley Lowery Foundation logo is to be placed on the sleeve of the new RCA home kit as the club pay tribute to the bravery and determination shown by the Sunderland fan, who captured the nation’s hearts before succumbing to neuroblastoma at the age of six in July 2017
Chester-le-Street-based suicide prevention and bereavement support charity If U Care Share Foundation will have their logo displayed on the sleeve of RCA’s new away kit.
Co-founder Matthew Smith revealed their delight at the club’s decision to support the charity that provides support for those affected by suicide around the North East.
"We are humbled by such an amazing gesture from Sunderland RCA and we thank everyone connected with the club," he said.
"It means so much that the If U Care Share Foundation logo will be seen up and down the region and, hopefully for our sake and that of the club, they can have a successful cup run or two so our message can be spread around the country.
"We have had a lot of support from the football community and with the local non-league scene in particular.
"This has come as a surprise to us all and we can’t thank the club enough.
"We really do appreciate it and we wish them every success for the upcoming season and beyond."
Sunderland RCA assistant manager Mark Cowan played a key role in the decision to support both charities and he told the Echo why they had both been chosen.
He said: "We thought it would be a great idea if we could support a different charity for each strip, which had links with both Sunderland and football.
"Obviously, there’s some very worthwhile charities within the area, but for us, the obvious choice for the red and white home strip was the Bradley Lowery Foundation.
"The club has close ties with Blackhall (Bradley’s home town) through our midfielder Dylan Elliott and his parents Peter and Lesley, and last year we arranged a bucket collection for the Foundation at one of home games.
"However, this season we wanted to do more to support the Foundation, and the excellent work they carry out in Bradley’s memory.
"For the away strip, we had a choice of great charities, but there’s a couple of reasons that made us choose If U Care Share Foundation.
"Mental health awareness and suicides in young men is a major concern in the community and the workplace, and for a club which has quite a few young players in the squad, so we wanted to make them aware that help is there if they need it.
"The other reason was the recent tragic loss of Whitley Bay legend Robbie Livermore, who always had a smile on his face, on and off the pitch.
"Having someone to talk to, no matter what the problem is, could’ve prevented the loss of a great lad.
"With If U Care Share Foundation also being a local charity and its connection with football, again was the obvious choice for the club to support and to help raise awareness further."
For more information on both charities go to www.bradleyloweryfoundation.com and www.ifucareshare.co.uk