Since we opened in 2018, our aim has been to make a real difference to thousands of lives. Our focus is on supporting the whole community to raise educational attainment, increase skills and access to employment opportunities as well as enable people to develop healthier and happier lives through our sport and wellbeing programmes.

Family wearing Sunderland football shirts

Happier and Healthier Lives

Obesity rates in the north east are amongst the highest in the country, with mental health challenges and social isolation on the rise in both adults and children.

With the assistance of health specialists, we are here to support young and old alike access the right guidance and programmes to establish life-long habits which promote wellbeing and improve long-term health.

  • 162 stone lost by participants attending FIT BLACK CATS and Man v Fat health programmes
  • 194 families accessed Get Out Get Active activities in 2020
  • Nearly 10,000 young people have learned the health benefits of hydration from Northumbrian Water's 'Powered By Water' campaign
  • 80 older people are supported through the weekly Extra Time Hub
  • 3 unique partnerships bring NHS services closer to the community
  • 141 young people have volunteered for social action projects

Inclusive Sport and Play

With some of the highest obesity rates in the country, our role is to provide high quality opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in, and enjoy, sport.

We are home to 10 different sports and we are recognised as a centre for excellence for netball, with over 60 adult and junior teams playing and training in the Beacon each week.

  • Over 6,000 children have taken part in holiday courses
  • Nearly 300 disabled children and young people have accessed weekly sessions
  • 105 adults with physical or learning disabilities have attended our Every Player Counts programme
  • Home to the North East's only Tier 1 Regional Talent Club for female footballers, with 60 young people selected each year
  • Over 900 children have attended the Player Development Centre
  • In partnership with Young Asian Voices, the Beacon is home to the Midnight Football League
  • Over 1,000 have attended the 'Big Workplace Games'

Increasing Skills and Opportunities

With nearly 6% of the population unemployed, the north east has the highest rate of unemployment in the country.

Our aim is to support more people gain good quality vocational and technical qualifications, helping to bridge the gap between education and work.

Through the Arriva World of Work Zone, we help employers, young people and the unemployed remove the barriers to employment and gain skills they need to succeed in the work place.

  • 1,242 learners have been supported by the World of Work Zone
  • 100% of learners reported improved career opportunities
  • 91% of learners achieved qualifications in sector specfic programmes
  • 83% achieved work placement aims in sector specific industries with skills shortages
  • 76% learners have progressed into employment, further education or training
  • 282 businesses engaged in opportunities for learners, including apprenticeship interviews with Barratt Developments

Inspiring a Love of Lifelong Learning

Educational attainment across the region is amongst the lowest in the country. Our aim is to raise attainment in English, Maths and IT for all young people, closing the gap between those from disadvantaged backgrounds and others.

Working alongside schools, colleges and other agencies, we promote education by delivering ground breaking programmes to improve learning through purpose-built classrooms, innovative teaching techniques and interactive spaces.

  • Over 4,000 children have attended STEM events
  • Nearly 170 teachers have accessed CPD
  • Over 500 children have taken part in World Book Day activities alongside SAFC players
  • 260 16-18 year olds have completed either a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification through the Foundation's football scholarship programme based at the Beacon
  • Over 200 primary school children have worked with our Disability Champions programme
  • 827 families have accessed mental health, ICT, nutrition and numeracy courses
  • 194 young people aged 16-18 enrolled on a two-year BTEC education programme
  • 649 teenagers have access facilities across the Beacon as part of our youth division

About the Foundation of Light

Proceeds from the Beacon are donated to SAFC's official charity, Foundation of Light. Over 20 years, the Foundation has supported over half a million people from across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham by tackling some of the region's biggest challenges including, obesity, unemployment, anti-social behaviour and poor mental health.

Just £4 will provide a disabled child with specialist sport classes, whilst £10 helps the Foundation teach a family to cook healthy meals on a budget. Every pound you spend with us makes a real difference.

Donate to the Foundation of Light