SOUTH Tyneside families are on target for a brighter future – thanks to a Premier League quality scheme from a football club charity and housing bosses.
The Foundation of Light, Sunderland AFC’s charity, has teamed up with North East housing provider ISOS to provide family learning and employment opportunities for residents in the borough.
ISOS has invested more than £50,000 to support the charity’s Family Learning and Back in the Game courses.
The partnership has already proved a hit and was officially launched at Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light stadium yesterday.
Sunderland players David Moberg Karlsson and El-Hadji Ba joined charity and housing bosses and residents who have benefitted from the courses at the event.
Back in the Game, which launched in May, saw 21 residents enrol, with four gaining full-time work and another three going into education.
Classes are held over a 10-week period at the Stadium of Light, with useful tips on CVs, a mock interview, a two-week work placement and fitness sessions to get users in peak condition for the rigours of the workplace included.
Qualifications are available.
The Family Learning courses see parents work on issues such as family finance and given help on how to support their children with improving literacy and numeracy as well as their general health and take part in football coaching and fitness sessions.
The Foundation of Light visits schools to promote the scheme to young pupils, who can then recommend it to their parents. While training at the facilities at the Stadium of Light is a key attraction, organisers say the quality of teaching keeps them coming back.
Matthew Hill, head of lifelong learning at the Foundation of Light, said: “The football club attracts a lot of people to the course, but is the quality of the teaching that keeps them attending.
“The Back in the Game course takes an holistic approach. We look at the big picture, giving key work skills, looking at CV and letter writng, mock interviews and a two-week work placement as well as fitness sessions to get people ready for the workplace.”
Tenants at ISOS are being encouraged to take advantage of the raft of opportunities on offer.
Tina Drury, executive director of Customers and Communities at ISOS, added: “The programmes are about developing and building confidence and giving people the life skills and learning opportunities to help them gain employment.
“Both of the courses link in with our objectives of helping the community and improving lives. That’s what attracted us.”
South Tyneside councillor Alan Kerr, who attended the event along with fellow councillors Joan Atkinson and Alex Donaldson, said: “I think the Foundation of Light is a fantastic organisation.
“It does great work, and the partnership with ISOS will continue that.
“Sunderland has always been a good community club and this scheme will be welcomed with open arms in South Tyneside.
For more information on the work of the Foundation of Light, visit www.safc.com/foundation-of-light