Red and White Army launch Supporters' Trust - and here's how Sunderland fans can get involved

Sunderland supporters group The Red and White Army (RAWA) have launched the first-ever Supporters’ Trust connected to the club – and fans are being encouraged to get involved.

RAWA, who were formed in 2017, now have over 11,000 members and have regularly communicated views from the fanbase to Sunderland AFC through structured dialogue meetings and other avenues.

Members of the group last year voted overwhelmingly to convert to a Supporters’ Trust – and that process has now come to a conclusion after the group registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

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The core aims of RAWA will not change, but becoming a Trust means that the group will now comply with the FCA which means the formulation of a legally binding constitution and the submission of annual accounts.

Red and White Army launch Supporters' Trust - and here's how Sunderland fans can get involved

A Supporters’ Trust can also provide a vehicle to raise funds for the benefit of its members and the community as a whole, and even to own shares in Sunderland AFC should the opportunity arise and fans feel it appropriate to do so.

As part of the process, RAWA have also appointed a new Community Project Representative to the board. That role will be taken on by Peter Richardson, who devised the virtual Wembley ticket initiative this year. He will help with any future work undertaken by RAWA.

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A new website will also be launched, with audio-visual content explaining the Trust’s work, while the group will also adopt a new logo.

And ahead of an exciting new chapter for RAWA, fans are being urged to get involved and join the Trust.

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By taking out an annual subscription of at least £5, members will be able to vote at meetings and stand for election to the Trust’s board.

Existing members who do not wish to join the Trust can continue to receive regular email newsletters for free.

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Speaking on the launch of the Trust, chair Andrew Hird said: “This is an exciting time for Sunderland fans with the potential and positivity engendered by the new ownership.

“It’s a great time for us to launch the Trust and it’s not before time. Whilst RAWA is a relatively new group we have always been very aware that Sunderland represents one of the largest fanbases in the UK not to have a fully-fledged Supporters’ Trust, so we’re proud to finally make that happen.

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"It won’t drastically change what we do day-to-day but it takes us to another level and members can really feel they’re part of something big. Something that will hopefully thrive and grow and be passed on to future generations of supporters.

"The RAWA Supporters’ Trust is open for all Sunderland fans and it is up to them to shape and grow this into something to be proud of,” he continued.

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“Supporters are the constant, beating heart of the Club. The Trust represents a great opportunity to be a positive influence on the direction of SAFC and strengthen the supporters’ voice. Join up and be part of it”.

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