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Foundation of Light

Stop 21 - Tuesday 25th September 2018

Foundation of Light: the power of football

Foundation of Light is a sports charity using football as an inspirational tool to bring education, health and wellbeing to the Sunderland community. The charity received a loan from Charity Bank to build its new state-of-the-art sports and education centre. CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE talks about the importance of Charity Bank’s loan, empowering them to realise this ambition.

“Foundation of Light was founded in 2001 by Chairman Sir Bob Murray CBE as the independent charitable foundation of Sunderland Association Football Club. It was set up to involve, educate and inspire children and young people from the surrounding area through the power of football. The initial focus was on education, using football as a tool through which to help children in primary school to better engage with learning.

“Since then we have grown to become one of the world’s most pioneering sports charities. We work with a huge cross-section of people within our community, offering something for everyone through our focus areas of Education, Sport and Play, World of Work and Health and Wellbeing.

“Our original focus was outreach work in community sports centres and schools alongside the classrooms and facilities we had at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. Several years ago, the idea of our own purpose-built centre began to take shape – an innovative sports and education facility unlike anything else in the UK.

“Named the Beacon of Light, the centre opened in September and will be integral to furthering the work we do across the North East. It features five stories of sports halls, football pitches, informal learning spaces and education suites designed to create life-changing opportunities for local people and re-energise our communities.

“We needed a significant amount of funding and Charity Bank has been key to helping us realise this ambition. We wanted to work with Charity Bank because of their ethos and flexibility. They have been so generous with their support, time and understanding and made what is quite a complex process as easy and smooth as possible for us.

“Charity Bank is an ideal partner for us, as they provide a vital business service without compromising on ethics. We want to ensure that, wherever possible, every part of our operation has a positive impact. As consumers, we’ve never had so much information and choice available. You can still get what you need from a financial organisation while also doing something positive for your communities and that’s a very important message.

“On behalf of the thousands of people whose lives we are helping to improve, we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has made the choice to save ethically with Charity Bank. Your savings have made it possible for the Beacon of Light to have an even bigger impact on the North East than we had anticipated.”

Foundation Of Light is just one of 38 Follow the Money visits. Explore further Follow the Money visits and see how Charity Bank savers' money is used for good.

See the previous Follow the Money visit - Abbotsford Trust, and our next visit - EVA Women's Aid.

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.

Last reviewed: 04/01/2022

#FollowTheMoney — Highlights from visit 21

Today's pictures are courtesy of Foundation of Light