Geoff’s generous donation hands SSFC Foundation major boost

Geoff’s generous donation hands SSFC Foundation major boost

South Shields FC Foundation has received a significant boost in the form of a £100,000 donation from club chairman Geoff Thompson.

The announcement is the latest in a series of contributions made by Mr Thompson in the last four years to create his dream of a fan-owned Football League club for the town.

The Foundation is the club’s charitable arm that delivers around £1million worth of social and community impact each year across a range of community-based health and well-being activities.

In July 2019 it formed a partnership with Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare to secure the future of the Welfare – which was facing certain closure – in doing so safeguarding six local jobs and helping to preserve the town’s mining heritage.

Head of SSFC Foundation Steve Camm said: “We are obviously absolutely delighted with the generous donation.

“It will help us to continue to grow and develop the work of the Foundation and further increase our social and community impact.

“The Foundation is a registered charity but we are absolutely determined to be self financing through the activities we deliver and this donation will ensure that we can invest in the things we need to guarantee that.

“Geoff has always been a supporter of the Foundation and its work. It is consistent with his values and determination to invest in the club and the town.

“His generosity will benefit hundreds of people locally and help us to thrive as a community-based charitable foundation. We are incredibly humbled by the generous donation.”

The purpose of the Foundation is to promote community participation in healthy activities by people of all ages and abilities. It sits neatly alongside the club’s elite sporting programmes at first-team, ladies and academy level, broadening the offer and widening the participation levels.

The Foundation runs 20 junior football teams and a number of community-based programmes for children from three years old, including its flagship ‘Thinkers and Movers’ programme for three to five-year-olds, ‘Mini Mariners’ for five and six-year-olds, and its most recent addition, the Friday night ‘Skills School’ delivered by some of the first-team players.

But it’s not just about football.

The Foundation’s schools programme is now entering its second year and is fully booked.

Developed by Foundation Programme Delivery Lead Nathan Kew, the programme is being delivered in 11 primary and nursery schools focusing on literacy, numeracy, movement, resilience and social and emotional development.

Our popular schools matchday experience programme is also now in its second year and has seen first-team players visit over 30 schools, with more than 2,500 children visiting the ground to cheer the team on as our next generation of supporters.

Since its formation the Foundation has created or safeguarded nine jobs, two apprenticeships and created 40 regular volunteering opportunities which offer opportunities for qualifications and development.

The recent developments at Harton Welfare have now added bowls, cricket, junior cricket, adult learning, music and fitness activities for adults to the list of activities it supports that help to improve peoples’ health and well-being. The latest addition was McKenzie Dance, which started operating from Harton Welfare in January 2020.

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson said: “The growth and development of the Foundation over the last two years has been exponential, in parallel with the progression of the first-team and academies and consistent with our ambition to create a Football League-ready community club that the whole town can be proud of.

“First and foremost I am making an investment in the town.

“The Foundation creates about £11 worth of social and community impact for local people for every £1 it spends and so I wanted to support and encourage that kind of impact.

“We want to reach the Football League as a community club and the Foundation has an important role to play in ensuring we make a significant contribution to the local economy and local peoples’ health and well-being.”