News FA Community Shield Funding Boost Sunderland AFC has received a share of The FA’s 2015 Community Shield Fund and have kindly donated the £2,000 grant to NEAS. The FA Community Shield fixture, known as the FA Charity Shield until 2002, takes place annually at Wembley Stadium as a curtain-raising showpiece event prior to the start of every Barclays Premier League season. It is traditionally a contest between the preceding campaign’s FA Cup winners and Premier League champions, which saw Arsenal overcome Chelsea in the 2015 showcase. All 124 clubs that featured from the First Round Proper of The Emirates FA Cup are allocated a portion of the fund and are asked to nominate local charities or community-based initiatives of their choice, with the North East Autism Society benefitting from Sunderland AFC’s donation on this occasion. Nathan Bruce (Volunteer Co-ordinator at NEAS) pictured centre above, collected the cheque with Sunderland AFC fans Paul Sibson and Michael Mohan who attend NEAS Day Services at the Sunderland vs Chelsea match on Saturday (May 7th). Sunderland AFC become the first Barclays Premier League club to build a designated sensory room for supporters affected by the noise levels of the stadium seating areas. The Nathan Shippey Sensory Room, named after the young supporter with autism who was the inspiration for the development of the first-of-its-kind project, was constructed in the Black Cats Bar last summer and provides a calming environment, including appropriate sensory room equipment, for supporters to watch games. North East Autism Society, Chief Executive, John Phillipson said: We are delighted to accept this generous donation from Sunderland AFC from the FA Community Shield Fund. Over the last year Sunderland AFC has been working with us on our Connect to Autism campaign. Not only have we seen staff trained in autism awareness but we’ve also been hugely encouraged by the Club’s willingness to make adjustments so that people with autism can enjoy the game and access the club. Thanks to this donation we can also add to the services we provide in the Sunderland area. Following several requests for toddler groups and family support services in central Sunderland, we are pleased to say this donation will help make this happen. Together we are making a difference to the lives of people with autism in the North-east.