Volunteers at Sunderland’s Fans Museum project are celebrating a result of a different kind after it scooped almost £10,000.
The group, founded by Sunderland AFC fanatic Michael Ganley, houses scores of precious pieces of football memorabilia at the former Monkwearmouth Station Museum building close to Wearmouth Bridge.
Now the team have been told they will be handed a donation of £9,897 from the Aviva Community Fund.
The cash will help towards its Fans For Life Learning Centre project, which will see the centre people with disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health problems improved their lives.
Medals, boots and match-worn shorts from the likes of football legends such as Pele, Gary Lineker and Diego Maradona as well as many more are all on show at the North Bridge Street site.
It also houses jerseys worn by Sunderland heroes such as Kevin Phillips, Jimmy Montgomery and Kevin Ball as well as the original boardroom table and chairs from Roker Park which date back to the 1890s.
“This funding will be a really big boost for us and we want to thank Aviva and everybody who voted for us,” said Michael.
“We’re creating an educational hub which will work with older generations as well as those who are less fortunate to support them in their lives.
“For example we could be helping someone with autism improve their CV or give a person assistance to use Skype to speak to their family abroad.
“The money will allow us to buy the equipment to do these kinds of things.”
The latest announcement comes as the project, which now has more than 50 volunteers contributing, becomes more and popular after moving into its first permanent home almost a year ago.
Michael held a celebration event to break the news to the team complete with balloons and a cake.
“We’re getting a lot of visitors on matchdays, 600 at times, and people are hiring us out for birthday parties quite often now,” added Michael.
“We’ll be open day to day virtually 365 days a year and not many establishments can say that.
“We’re always looking for more help with things as we continue to grow.”
The team will be taking the museum’s items on the road during half term to Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, in Durham, from Monday, February 18, to Saturday, February 23, from 10am to 5pm on each day.
The event is aiming to raise awareness and funds for St Cuthbert’s Hospice.
Anyone interesting in volunteering with or offering sponsorship to the museum should email firstname.lastname@example.org