Jak of all trades: Meet SSFC Foundation’s newest employee

Jak of all trades: Meet SSFC Foundation’s newest employee

We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jak Lewis as our latest member of SSFC Foundation staff.

Jak, 16, has taken up the role of Apprentice as part of the ground staff team. He will work alongside Gary Crutwell maintaining Mariners Park and Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare.

Jak is studying for a Horticulture Operative Level 2 Award in association with our partners Sunderland College as part of a two-year course. It will see him learn new skills about the maintenance and care of the facilities.

As part of the apprenticeship Jak also has to participate in other “off the job” skills and so the Foundation will support him to gain his coaching qualifications and he will co-deliver some of our football activities.

The former St Wilfrid’s RC College pupil – who lives within walking distance of Mariners Park – has helped out at the club as a volunteer for almost two years.

Players and staff quickly took him to their hearts and their respect for him was underlined when they clubbed together to buy him a new bike last November after his was stolen.

The moment was captured on video and went on to be viewed hundreds of thousands of times around the world.

Since then, Jak has become an even more integral part of the club and has now got his reward.

Foundation Manager Steve Camm said: “It’s our pleasure to welcome Jak to the team and we know he will prove to be an invaluable asset to the Foundation and the club moving forward.

“Since July we have been working in partnership with Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare to secure its future.

“As we increase the activities on site, having Jak to work alongside Gary will be crucial.

“In total three football pitches, a cricket square, a bowling green, three 3G pitches and all the ancillary areas across the two sites will require constant care and attention to ensure they are of the highest possible standard and capable of supporting increased usage.

“Jak has been volunteering at the club now for a number of years.

“His commitment, work ethic and willingness are second to none and it’s our pleasure to be able to create a progression route for him into employment.

“Jak is highly thought of by everyone at the club.

“Supporters may remember a story where he had his bike stolen and first-team players clubbed together to buy him a new one. Well now he’s got a tractor!”

SSFC Foundation is the charitable arm of South Shields Football Club and its aim is to improve the health and well-being of the local community.

The Foundation recently linked up with Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare, with the two charities collaborating to secure the future of the Welfare and create an opportunity to grow and extend the community impact of both organisations.

The Foundation is now offering its support to the day-to-day operational management of the site with a particular focus on increasing its financial viability.