They don’t call it the People’s Game for nothing. Now, it seems they don’t call it the Stadium of Light for nothing, either. On Friday, Sunderland FC opened up a usually quiet corner of the Stadium of Light, their ground, to the homeless

The area, which has capacity for 12 people, is open to everyone and serviced by a steady stream of hot food and drinks

The room will be manned all weekend, making it a truly safe place for the tired, weary, hungry and vulnerable who line our streets. Indeed, as the club said in a statement on their website:

Sunderland AFC is opening its doors to the homeless and vulnerable this weekend, providing a safe and warm environment in the bitter conditions forecast. Pets are also welcome, and the room will be manned.

Amidst the horror stories of numerous deaths in the snow, brought on the back of freezing blizzards from the East, the most vulnerable shivering and suffering in the tumult; it is heartening to hear that through it all, the best in humanity has had a chance to shine through. 

And where better for it to shine through than in the Stadium of Light? It’s perverse that it has come to this though, that this Government is so inept that the charity of people must form a crutch on which its negligence can lean, but nevertheless, the beauty in people’s capacity for caring and warmth is undeniable.

The space will remain available until, at least, 9AM on Monday morning – and there are facilities for people to sleep there as well.

Sunderland FC has also encouraged anyone in need to contact Centrepoint, Sunderland City Council Homeless services or the Salvation Army Swan Lodge Lifehouse for help. The Sunderland City Council Homeless out of hours emergency line can be reached on 0191 520 5551, the Salvation Army Swan Lodge emergency bed and facilities line on 0191 5655 411 and Centrepoint for 16-25-year-olds with housing problems on 0808 800 0661.

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