SAFC fans raise more than £200k for charity through Sunderland Together campaign
Sunderland AFC fans from around the globe have raised over £200,000 to help local charities during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sunderland Together campaign was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw fans donate a staggering £212,061 last season to support hard-pressed frontline community services in Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham
Despite the 2020/2021 football season was one like no other, Black Cat supporters came together to support charities supporting people who are struggling with their mental health or keeping foodbanks supplied with goods.
Over £170,000 alone was raised as part of the virtual Wembley ticket initiative ahead of the Papa John’s Trophy Final in March and Sunderland AFC donated over £21,000 following the sale of season cards for next season.
The money has supported five local charities – The Foundation of Light, Sunderland Foodbank, The Salvation Army, Washington Mind, and Veterans in Crisis.
Sunderland Together was administered by the Foundation of Light and chief executive, Lesley Spuhler, said, “This is a staggering amount of money to raise and shows just how amazing our supporters are.
“The money will go towards supporting critical frontline services across the region tackling food poverty, social isolation, unemployment and poor mental health. It is a testament to just what can be achieved when our club, community and supporters work together.”
He added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. Your kindness has made a life-changing difference to thousands of lives across the North East.”
Graham Wharton, community manager at The Salvation Army’s Southwick Community Project, said: “As a proud Sunderland AFC supporter, I’m absolutely delighted that Mackems and people across the country have come together and donated to good causes.
“Thanks to everyone’s incredible generosity, we will be able to continue providing food parcels for struggling families, and breakfast and after-school clubs.”
Jonathan Conlon from Sunderland Foodbank said the money is already making a difference to those who need it most.
He said: "So far this year we have helped support nearly 3,000 people across Sunderland.
"This incredible donation is timely in light of the ongoing pressures linked to the pandemic so thank you to everyone involved.”
Washington Mind have been able to purchase a van to support mobile outreach projects in the community.
Jacqui Reeves, chief executive, said, “Everyone here is totally overwhelmed by the phenomenal amount raised by the Sunderland Together campaign.
“This will make a huge difference to us and your support is invaluable to us and our community. Thank you.”
Andrew Hird, chair of the Red and White Army Supporter Trust said, “The amount raised for Sunderland Together initiative is phenomenal and shows the generosity of our fantastic fanbase.
"It’s been a challenging period during the COVID-19 pandemic but the money raised will make a real difference to the communities of Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.”
Jim Gilling, Chair of the Sunderland AFC Branch Liaison Council said, “We want to thank everyone who contributed to this fantastic total. The money raised will be very much appreciated and will be put it to good use in the local community.”