Team COCO partners with University of Sunderland in London

University of Sunderland in London

Published on 15 May 2017

Team COCO, the charity’s new virtual England Athletics affiliated running club, has signed a two-year sponsorship agreement with the University of Sunderland in London to raise funds that will benefit COCO’s overseas programmes.

COCO works with communities in remote regions of the developing world on projects that provide children with access to the education that is essential for a good start in life and the University of Sunderland in London decided to become Team COCO’s sponsor after being inspired by COCO's vital work overseas.. 

Ruth Wilson, head of services for students and marketing, said: “The University of Sunderland in London is delighted to be partnering Team COCO. The work of COCO gives the University the chance to remind ourselves of the positive role education can play in changing lives. At the University of Sunderland in London we constantly strive for opportunities to remind our student body of what they can use their studies for, and the good they can pay back. The COCO motto of ListenLearnSustain is a message we hope all our students can adopt and we now look forward to also encouraging them to get more active for a great cause.”

Team COCO is a virtual running club, meaning that members have the flexibility to run and fund-raise wherever and whenever they like, but always have an online community of runners with whom to share their experiences. Many of Team COCO’s members turned out in force at Durham parkrun to celebrate the new sponsorship agreement, showcase the club’s new brand and help recruit new members.

Lucy Kendall, CEO of COCO, said: “We are thrilled to have the University of Sunderland in London on board as sponsor for Team COCO, our virtual, England Athletics affiliated running club. To have a leading university showing support for our education work in East Africa is a real boost. With the university’s backing, we can raise more awareness of the important work we’re undertaking among students and the wider public.

“Given that COCO was founded by athletic legend Steve Cram, it's no surprise that we have such a strong connection to running and we are keen to engage more active supporters to sign up and be a part of this fantastic community. Durham parkrun was a great opportunity for existing members to get together and meet new supporters. We have exciting plans for Team COCO and look forward to working with the University of Sunderland in London to use running here in the UK to do a huge amount of good for young people in East Africa.”

COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) ‚Äč

COCO is an international children’s charity, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which works with communities in remote regions of the developing world on projects that provide children with access to the education that is essential for a good start in life.

University of Sunderland's Chancellor, Steve Cram CBE, and British Army Major Jim Panton, founded COCO in 2000. Since then, the charity has raised over £3.8 million to fund small, sustainable, community-led initiatives. COCO and its partners have now undertaken 50 transformational projects in 16 countries, positively impacting the lives of over 150,000 people. 

COCO is currently operating in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, in East Africa. Despite having just two full-time and two part-time members of staff, the charity has enjoyed considerable success. Graduates from partner school, Hoja Secondary in Tanzania, have achieved the best results in their region for four consecutive years and the school is now able to cover its own running costs.

COCO is working with 10 other communities to replicate this success. In addition, to enable parents to cover the cost of their children’s education, COCO has distributed 4,500 small loans and reached 13 communities with sustainable agriculture training, helping farmers to increase their annual income by up to 283%. 

To find out more about the work of COCO visit is external), find the charity on Facebook or follow @COCO_Charity on Twitter.