Charity Commission to contact Sunderland FC charity after abuse allegations

An operation established by Northumbria Police to look into historic sex abuse allegations has led to a number of allegations relating to sports clubs across north-east England, including the Foundation of Light

The Charity Commission has said it will urgently contact a charity linked with Sunderland Football Club after police revealed they were investigating historical sexual abuse allegations concerning one of the charity’s former employees.

The Foundation of Light, which was set up in 2001 and runs sports, health, community and education programmes in the north east of England, is being investigated as part of Northumbria Police’s Operation Tide, which is looking into claims of sexual abuse at sports clubs in the area.

The force said that since Operation Tide was begun in December 25 victims had come forward in relation to eight suspects across nine sports clubs, including Newcastle United FC and the Foundation of Light.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said it was aware of the police investigation and would be contacting the charity as a matter of urgency for further information.

A statement released by the Foundation of Light said the charity was supporting the police investigation of the abuse allegations.

It said: "Foundation of Light is an organisation that is dedicated to improving people's lives and over the years we have supported many who have suffered abuse, as well as forging positive working relationships with Northumbria Police.

"We are extremely saddened to hear of the allegations and will do everything in our power to support this investigation."

The charity’s statement said it adhered to strict safeguarding procedures, employed a safeguarding officer and ensured that all of its staff completed safeguarding training and were subject to Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Darren Best, assistant chief constable at Northumbria Police, said: "When we initially launched the investigation it was focused on allegations made in connection with Newcastle United Football Club, but with more victims now bravely coming forward we have broadened the investigation.

"Our specially trained officers have been in contact with a number of people who have taken the hugely brave step of speaking to us."

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