Sunderland restaurant chain’s support for Kenyan side Sunderland AFC Keroche

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A CHAIN of Wearside restaurants are to dish out vital help to an African football team which was created by die-hard Sunderland supporters.

Kenyan side Sunderland AFC Keroche were founded in 2007 with the aim of giving youngsters the chance to play the beautiful game.

The club does however rely on solely on donations to keep it going, something which the Martino’s Group have now pledged to help out with.

The business, which has eateries in Seaham, Seaburn and in Jarrow, South Tyneside, has made the club the recipient of their charity of the year project.

Honorary chairman of Sunderland AFC Keroche, Gary Lamb, said: “We are entirely funded by donations from our generous supporters, most of which are based here in Sunderland.

“Without these we would not be able to run an academy for children of all age groups, to help to give them a focus in life, and try to help them to keep away from the “darker” temptations in life.”

With over 100 children in total attending the SAFC-Keroche academy, the main aim of the club is to give youngsters the opportunity to showcase their footballing talents to a wider audience and hopefully one day may make it as a professional player.

After coming across an online plea for support from organisations, managing directors at Martino’s Group, Gavin and Fiona Leng, recently made the pledge to support the cause. Gavin said: “We have known Gary for quite some time and always thought that his project is outstanding.

“We saw on Facebook that they were in need of assistance to ensure that the next season was as much a success for the youngsters as possible and after discussing things with Fiona we decided we’d be honoured to be one of the first team sponsors.”

Cash donated will help towards the development of the club, which is based in the village of Karai, in the Rift Valley province of Kenya, whose first team is set to compete in the Kenyan National Second Division this year following two successive promotions.

Gavin and Fiona have also said they will sponsor a child who plays at the SAFC-Keroche Academy.

Gary added: “We’d like to thank Gavin and Fiona for coming on board to sponsor our team and academy.

“It’s with great thanks that we continue to provide our support across to Kenya and help those less fortunate to share in our passion.”

Those wanting to get involved with the club can call Gary on 07880 732 078 or email him at