Give a Quid SAFC

Special Sunderland shirt created to support poverty campaign

Sunderland AFC’s official principal partner, Great Annual Savings Group, has shown its support for the Foundation of Light, by gifting it’s front of shirt sponsorship to support a special campaign to tackle poverty in the North East.

The club’s official charity aims to raise £30,000 to support critical community services to combat the impact of food, fuel and digital poverty across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.

Sunderland AFC are dedicating their EFL League One match against Gillingham on 2nd April to the campaign and the Lads will wear special warm-up t-shirts and playing shirts carrying the Foundation of Light logo. The special edition shirts will be signed and auctioned after the match to raise vital funds for the campaign.

The North East has the second highest rate of child poverty in the UK (behind London)[1] with one in three children across the region living in poverty[2]. Over 75% of those children, have one working adult in the household, laying bare the true impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

The result is a dramatic rise in child protection intervention and the number of children in care, with the North East currently having the highest rate of referrals to children’s social care in the UK, significantly higher than the national average, according to a joint report by the directors of children’s services in the region.

The Foundation works with thousands of young people and adults each year across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham, supporting some of the most deprived areas in the UK.

Craig Shields, Great Annual Savings Group’s operations director said:

“We are proud to be offering support to the Foundation of Light’s Give a Quid campaign, which has delivered essential support over recent years.  Sadly, it will be needed more than ever in the current climate.

“We are a business which closely monitors our impact and we launched our own foundation in 2021, which works towards similar goals as the Foundation of Light for the better of communities in Sunderland and County Durham.  For this reason, we are honoured to gift the front of shirt space to Give a Quid and we urge supporters to give what they can at a time when it is needed most.”

England and Sunderland AFC star Jermain Defoe is encouraging those who can donate to show their support. “Give a Quid is a fantastic campaign to support our communities and make sure that those who need help get it.

“The Foundation do amazing work in the community and if each fan in the Stadium on 2nd April donated £1, we could hit our target and collectively make a real difference to local lives.”

Lesley Spuhler OBE DL, chief executive of the Foundation of Light welcomes the support, “We are absolutely delighted that Great Annual Savings have backed our campaign to tackle poverty and gifted their front of shirt sponsorship to us for the match.

“The money raised by the shirt auction will go a long way to supporting the very poorest in our communities who are set to be hit hardest over the coming months as prices rise.

GAS Operations Director, Craig Shields, with Jack Clarke & Anthony Patterson.

“As a Foundation at the heart of our communities, we are here to help and make sure that the most vulnerable get the support they desperately need. Whether it’s delivering food parcels, teaching families how to cook healthy meals on a budget, telephone befriending or providing free access to IT equipment, we are working with partners to provide critical services and interventions to thousands across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.”

Over the last year, the Foundation has delivered thousands of food parcels to children and families across the region and working with the Red and White Army tonnes of food and toys have been collected for the Sunderland Foodbank and Salvation Army.

The Foundation has also worked closely with social services, councils and the police to provide support for hundreds of young people and adults helping them to gain new skills, reduce anti-social behaviour and improve their mental wellbeing through these very difficult times.

The Foundation’s Give a Quid campaign was first started in 2019. To date, Sunderland supporters have raised nearly £100,000 through the campaign to support the Foundation’s tackle issues such as poor mental health and social isolation.

You can donate today via JustGiving to help support our life changing work. 

Just £5 will support the Foundation to teach a family how to cook healthy meals on a budget, whilst £10 will provide a child normally in receipt of free school meals with food and sports activities during the school holidays.

£25 will support a socially isolated older person with food parcels, telephone befriending and activities.

Join the conversation on social media using #FoLGiveaQuid:

[2] Household Below Average Income (HBAI) figures

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.

Quote:

“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.