Sunderland’s festive charity drive to raise funds for five good causes

We're supporting Sunderland AFC's 2021 festive charity campaign

With less than three weeks to go until Christmas, Sunderland AFC has joined forces with its official charity, Foundation of Light, supporters’ groups Red and White Army, Sunderland Branch Liaison Council and Senior Supporters Association to launch the ‘Five for Five’ campaign.

As a proud member of the Red and White Army, Wise Men Say is happy to support this campaign which is so important to good causes in Sunderland and its surrounding areas.

‘Five for Five’ is aiming to raise £5,000 for five local charities to support vital services across the region – Foundation of Light, Salvation Army, Sunderland Foodbank, Washington Mind and Veterans in Crisis Sunderland.

Sunderland AFC have dedicated the EFL League One match against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday 11 December to the campaign. There will be foodbank collections in the Beacon of Light Fan Zone and in Roker End Café, and the Salvation Band will play a range of Christmas carols in front of Stadium Reception and in the Fan Zone between 12:00 and 14:30.

The Foundation of Light uses the power of football to tackle a range of societal issues including unemployment, obesity, poor mental health, social isolation and anti-social behaviour across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.

Each year the Foundation supports over 20,000 people and money raised from the campaign will support families across the region through the provision of sport for all ages and abilities, as well as teach families to cook healthy food on a budget.

The Salvation Army supports nearly 1,000 people across the Sunderland area, providing a range of services including food parcels. Money raised will support families across the region at Christmas by providing toys and food.

Sunderland Foodbank provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Washington Mind works to improve the mental health of people living in Sunderland, Washington and the Coalfields, and money raised through the ‘Five for Five’ campaign will go towards supporting suicide prevention programmes including further roll-out of Ray’s Corners across the region.

Veterans in Crisis provides companionship and support for veterans and their families, across a wide range of issues and needs, including mental health, and training and employment advice. Donations from the campaign will enable them to maintain daily contact with more than 250 people and their families across the area.

Steve Davison, Sunderland AFC’s chief operating officer said: “Five for Five is a fantastic initiative by the supporters’ groups and the Foundation. Once again, our fans have shown that they will support each other, and those in need, when it matters most.

“I would encourage supporters to give what they can. Just £1 will make a difference to local lives and help to ensure that thousands of people across the region get the support they need.”

Chair of Sunderland Branch Liaison Council (BLC) Jim Gilling said: “The BLC welcomes the opportunity to be a part of the SAFC football family helping five well deserving causes that will assist the local community in as many ways as possible. We hope that our supporters’ branches and all SAFC supporters will get behind this campaign and raise as much funding as possible for these great causes.”

Andrew Hird, Chair of the Red and White Army added: “I am proud that the Sunderland football community is coming together to support these five fantastic causes through the Five for Five campaign. Each is working hard to support vulnerable and isolated parts of the community to ensure they are safe and well.”

Malcolm Bramley, Secretary of the Sunderland Senior Supporters’ Association said “Time and time again, our fans show why they are the best supporters in the world. Their generous spirit is something we are all proud of and I’m delighted that we are supporting the Five for Five campaign this Christmas.”

Fans can donate by texting FIVEFORFIVE to 70450* or by visiting Cash and cheque donations can also be made in the Beacon of Light or in dedicated collection boxes at the Stadium of Light on 11th December.

*Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message