A North East philanthropist has offered a key sponsorship slot to charity, covering the cost himself.
Tony Platten, chairman of Blyth Spartans AFC, has announced that the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland will be the club’s shirt sponsor for the 2018-19 season.
The in-kind sponsorship sees the charity feature as the main sponsor for Spartans, who play in the National League North, the sixth tier of English football.
The Community Foundation was a previous beneficiary of in-kind sponsorship in 2014-15, a season that saw Spartans go on a magical FA Cup run, eventually losing in a third round home tie with Championship side Birmingham City.
Mr Platten, a fund-holder at the Community Foundation, said: “Blyth Spartans is a local club that is full of ambition and believes in the importance of setting a good example in the way we operate.
“I’m delighted to support the Community Foundation and highlight the important work that it does in the region through its grant-making, including many local grassroots sports activities in Blyth and the local area.
“The sponsorship is somewhat of a birthday gift from myself, as the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018.
“With superstition in football, I also hope that it can help inspire our players on a similarly impressive cup run as we did the last time the shirt was sponsored in the 2014-15 season!”
When the Foundation was last on the front of the Spartan’s shirt in 2014-15, the charities endowment was at £58million and handed out over £5million to local causes.
Since then, the charity has grown considerably, with assets totalling £81m, and grant-making of over £7.2m announced in the last financial year.
Sandra King, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Community Foundation, said: “We are incredibly grateful for our relationship with Tony and for the kind offer of free sponsorship of Blyth Spartans.
“Football clubs such as this make up the fabric of our local community, showing the passion that exists in our region.
“Blyth Spartans have a great history and are an ambitious club and we hope this exposure can help us to reach new audiences, to extend our giving to those who really need our support.”