2021 has been a very special year for the Foundation of Light as we celebrated our 20th birthday.
It really is astonishing to see how far we have come in that time and I am so proud of everything that Lesley and the team have achieved.
Two decades ago, I was fortunate enough to be the chairman of Sunderland Association Football Club. It is no ordinary club; it is ingrained into the region’s DNA and is a huge source of pride to the people of Sunderland and beyond.
As a custodian of this great club, I recognised that win, lose or draw Sunderland AFC could inspire and change lives. It could make a real and positive difference to its community, using the power of football to change people’s lives for the better.
That platform gave us the opportunity to create this unique charity and do just that.
I never imagined what an amazing journey we would go on and the impact we would make, not just within our great region but across the country and the globe.
With the Beacon strangely quiet during periods of lockdown this year, we have adapted our services to ensure that have continued to support those in need. From ‘garden gate’ visits and food parcels to over 55s, through to delivering a virtual youth service we’ve reached far and wide.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our loves and our communities long after vaccinations have been distributed and restrictions have been lifted. It has touched everyone and it is shaping our future. Now more than ever the Foundation matters and we must change to meet the needs of our learners, participants, players and customers.
For that reason, it is the people that inspire me and I am in awe every day watching the difference the Foundation staff make.
They are very, very special people who show immense commitment and pride in their work; tackling real societal issues and ensuring we continue to support those in our communities who need us the most.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and over the last two decades.
You are all true friends of the Foundation; without your help we could not do what we do. Without you, we could not continue to support those who need it most across this great region.
To support the work of SAFC’s official charity, you can text FOLFIVE to 70086 to make a £5 donation.