THE Beacon of Light has received a huge £1.5m vote of confidence from Sport England. The grant comes from Sports England’s Strategic Facilities Fund and is one of the largest awards received by the Beacon. Sport England is a government body responsible for promoting and supporting sport across the UK.
Work on the £18m Beacon, which is located adjacent to the Stadium of Light, began in October 2016 and is expected to be completed by early 2018.
Charles Johnston, director of facilities at Sport England, said: “We are delighted to offer £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to help people in Sunderland live more active lives. Offering sport, health and wellbeing, alongside education, will put it rightly in the heart of the community. With plans to offer an impressive range of sporting and fitness options, this new centre will be huge asset for the region.
“The Foundation of Light already has an enviable track record in delivering pioneering education and health programmes to improve the lives of local people, and the Beacon will massively increase the number of people it can reach. I wish the Foundation of Light every success in delivering this first-class facility.”
The Beacon of Light will fuse together sport, education, health / well-being and the world of work like no other place in the UK. The striking cube-shaped development, which will be illuminated at night, will include education and training facilities with an indoor football pitch above. When they enter the Beacon, visitors will be presented with a busy street along which the various activities will interconnect. Inspirational and motivational zones for sport, education, health and wellbeing, and a work zone will combine together with excellent views into a sports arena.
The Beacon has been designed to inspire participation and achievement and provide greater opportunities for sport and play from an early age, and to improve training, opportunities and standards for coaches and teachers. The sports facilities will include world class facilities for no less than 12 sports, a sports hall and courts including an acoustic performances space, 7-a-side indoor 4G pitch, six 5-a-side outdoor pitches as well as changing areas for indoor and outdoor sports.
The Beacon will also help people to do more and be more by gaining skills and qualifications. The education zone will be imaginatively designed to inspire young and old, and encourage generations of families to learn together. The Foundation already delivers 35 exclusive and award-winning programmes and the Beacon will enable it to broaden its education portfolio. By blending education, health and well-being and sport together the Beacon aims to enable individuals and families to develop healthier and happier lives. It will also provide 20,000 health MOTs every year and will address other health issues such as smoking and weight management.
Sir Bob Murray CBE, Chair of Trustees for the Foundation of Light, added: “The Foundation of Light is enormously grateful to the Sport England for their support and belief in the Beacon of Light, which will help people to learn more, do more and be more. It will help families learn together and acquire new skills, will encourage generations of the same family to participate in more sport and do more to improve their overall health and well-being.”
Sport England is responsible for grassroots sport in England. Working with national and local partners including national governing bodies of sport, local authorities, charities and other sporting organisations, it is committed to helping people live more active lives. The award-winning Foundation of Light was established in 2001 and uses the power of football to educate, inspire and motivate. One of the largest and leading sports charities in the UK, it has an excellent track record of working with children, young people and their families.