£250K Lottery Fund awarded to SAFC charity to celebrate the club's history

Credit - Foundation of Light
SAFC's charity - Foundation of Light - has received nearly £250,000 of National Lottery funding to celebrate the club's history. Credit: Foundation of Light

Sunderland AFC’s official charity, Foundation of Light, has received nearly £250,000 of National Lottery funding, for a project that will celebrate the history of the club and its connection to Wearmouth Colliery. 

The charity’s project - Coals to Goals - will work with Sunderland AFC and local community groups to capture living memories about the club, and the city of Sunderland.

An interactive timeline will be installed within Stadium Park to take fans on a journey through Sunderland AFC's history.

It will be run by Sunderland-born Olympic marathon runner Aly Dixon, alongside Durham Miners’ Association, and part of the scheme will be to deliver a series of education workshops - which will be led by local people - to pass on living experiences of working in the Colliery.

The three-year project, will also encourage local children to learn about the history of Sunderland and its relationship with Sunderland AFC through an education programme that supports improvement in subject areas such as literacy and numeracy.

Liz Barton-Jones, Foundation of Light's Head of Sport and Wellbeing said: ““Coal to Goals gives us a real opportunity to engage thousands across the region through innovative, football-based heritage learning opportunities.

"We want to work with all cross-sections of the community but we will have a particular focus on those living in areas of high deprivation and those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

"This is a really exciting development for the area and I’m looking forward to seeing it come to life.” 

Rob Mason, Sunderland AFC’s club historian said “A crucial part of the ‘Coals to Goals’ project is offering a coordinated route towards collecting the personal memories of older players and fans who witnessed the club’s growth during the 1950s and 1960s.

“These first-hand accounts are at risk of being lost due to people passing away. Collecting these memories and preserving them for use by future generations, will ensure these valuable memories will be available for research and learning purposes long into the future.” 

The Foundation will be creating a series of community engagement activities and programmes and more information on how to get involved will be released to the public in Spring 2022.