Sunderland AFC management and players are lining up to support the North East’s newest sports, education, health and events venue – the Beacon of Light.
Throughout the summer, a string of Black Cats stars have attended a range of events and activities at the state-of-the-art facility, inspiring the business community and delighting hundreds of children and adults. The Beacon which opened this year will welcome around 6,000 people a week and act as a hub for people of all ages who want to take part in exciting programmes to improve their lives and prospects
Manager Jack Ross kicked off the new season in June at a special breakfast alongside SAFC legend Kevin Ball and corporate supporters on the EFL’s fixture release day where he discussed the exciting new era on Wednesday ahead of the League One campaign.
“I’ve been an ambassador for the Foundation for a few years now,” said former club captain Ball. “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the people whose lives they’ve changed and seen the Beacon go from vision to reality. “Our charity is setting the standards for other football club worldwide.”
Then, ahead of SAFC’s Carabao Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday in August, Charlie Wyke and Tom Flanagan watched a training session with the Foundation’s Scholars on the rooftop barn before taking part in a Q&A.
Impressed by the Beacon’s facilities, forward Wyke said:
“The Beacon is fantastic. It’s a good opportunity for young players to showcase their talent and a brilliant place. If I was a young lad playing here I would definitely thrive off it.”
Later that month, Josh Maja and Luke O’Nien surprised more than 60 youngsters at a summer multi-sports course, joining in small-sided football games and trying their luck on the Foundation’s sports inflatables before posing for photos and signing autographs.
Rounding off the summer’s player visits, Flanagan and Jack Baldwin joined a Every Player Counts session, a fun weekly football session for people with a range of disabilities.
“It’s really important to engage the local community,” Flanagan added. “I’ve visited the Beacon a couple of times now and it seems to get better every time. People are so lucky to be able to be able to use it and it’s definitely something they should take advantage of. It will be great to see people benefitting from the Beacon for years to come.”