Sunderland City Council have been given permission to build three multi-million pound football hubs in Sunderland, with work beginning in the new year of 2019.
The £18.04million project, which will see the hubs built at the Community North Sports Complex, Ford Quarry and the North Area Playing Fields, will provide brand new all-weather sports hubs.
Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for communities and culture, said:
“It’s fantastic news for everyone involved in local football and sport to be creating these new hubs. Football isn’t only a national sport it’s in the DNA of thousands of people across our city.
“These are the type of modern facilities that we need and that everyone rightly expects and deserves, and with them there’s plenty of opportunities for more people to enjoy football and get involved in more sport.
“We’re being a real trail-blazer here, working closely with communities and local clubs. It’s great how the Football Foundation backed us.
“I hope and would fully expect others up and down the country to be looking at these exciting developments in Sunderland and following our lead.”
Each site will include a new hub building which will encompass new changing facilities, a new café, and social and education spaces available to the community, as well as improved access and parking.
Chris Hutchinson, the Facilities and Investment Officer at Durham FA, said:
“It will benefit all people at all ages who want to play traditional affiliated football as well as recreational football and training. Community North will also have a gym offer at the site.
“They will support mini soccer and youth football, offering year round-football for training, matches and kickabouts; the Hubs will provide and enhance football facilities for future playing opportunities within Sunderland.
“If there is an opportunity to develop and improve football facilities in other parts of the country, I would definitely encourage it.”
The new hubs will see ten full-size, floodlit all-weather third generation artificial grass pitches built across the three sites in total.
Martin Haswell, councillor for the Pallion ward, also gave his thoughts on the new football hubs. He said:
“The hubs will be of huge benefit to the smaller football teams around the area, to amateurs and those playing football after school or after work.
“The grassroots game needs investment like this if young people are going to have the opportunity of progressing into the professional teams. At the moment, there aren’t a great deal of options available to play football matches; often these pitches don’t have the best drainage and are unusable after a heavy rain spell.
“Having these hubs on the doorstep is fantastic as it gives young people somewhere to go which has good facilities and can be used throughout the year and not just when the weather holds up.”
The local community will also benefit from a new, state-of-the-art health and fitness suite and studio at Community North Sports Complex. Four grass football pitches will also be improved across the portfolio.
For more information on the building of the football hubs, click here.