29 February 2024

Sunderland AFC’s official partner, Hays Travel, have shown their support for the Foundation of Light, by gifting their sleeve sponsorship to support the charity’s Heart On Your Sleeve campaign.  

The Black Cats are dedicating their clash with QPR to the campaign, where the team’s matchday shirts will carry the special Foundation of Light logo on the sleeve.  
The special edition shirts will be signed and auctioned after the match to raise vital funds for the campaign that is trying to bring supporters together to help and inspire one another to live happier and healthier lives. 

North East football fans are notorious for their passion and the Foundation wants to channel that energy to help make a difference to lives across Wearside.  

Recent studies have shown that health inequalities in the UK are getting worse, with the gap between the North East and the South of England growing. 

People in communities across our region are living shorter lives; spending most of them in poor health. 
Foundation of Light works with up to 20,000 young people and families every year and aim to tackle these issues, encouraging parents and grandparents to stay both physically and mentally active to inspire the next generation to do the same.  

Through various initiatives and programmes and links with Sunderland AFC, the Foundation gives families the opportunity to access sports and fitness sessions, mental health resources and experience the facilities at the Beacon of Light community hub.  

The chair of Hays Travel Dame Irene Hays said: “Creating opportunities for young people has been important to us since Hays Travel was established in 1980. No matter their background, we believe that every young person should have access to the facilities and support they need to develop their potential and lead a happy, healthy life. 

“It is an honour to support a campaign that uses education and recreation to empower North East families, particularly in times of crisis, and preserves every young person’s right to a brighter tomorrow.” 

Foundation of Light chief executive Lesley Spuhler, welcomes the support, “We are absolutely delighted that Hays Travel have backed our Heart On Your Sleeve campaign.  

“Hays are long-term friends of the Foundation; we know how deeply connected they are with the North East and that they share our values. It’s a great opportunity for us to work together and to raise money to help supporters and their families across Sunderland and beyond.” 

How supporters can get involved:  

Red and White Week will run the week before the QPR game, from Monday 11 March, encouraging workplaces, schools, and businesses to host a day for people to wear their Sunderland AFC shirts in return for a £1 donation. Get in touch, and we may be able to organise a visit from SAFC mascot Samson. Email [email protected]  

Enter one of our Prize Draws – you could win a mascot place, signed Jack Clarke shirt or the chance to take a penalty on the pitch v Samson the Cat.

The Cashback Ticket Scheme offers local schools and sports clubs across the region access to affordable matchday tickets for supporters and cashback from the tickets goes to both the Foundation and schools and sports clubs involved.  

We are also looking for as many SAFC fans as possible to 'Show us your Heart.' Share your #HeartOnYourSleeve' photos in the run-up to Foundation of Light Day for a chance to feature on the matchday programme cover. 

#BuzzChallenge – remember the game Buzz Off?! The nostalgia will come flooding back in the Matchday Fan Zone at the Beacon of Light with the Foundation of Light’s Buzz Challenge game – make sure you give it a go and try and make the leaderboard