Last year, I was one of 21 people who were selected by the Sunderland 2021 team to be a Community Champion in supporting Sunderland in the City of Culture bid. During this time I discovered that Sunderland is a hub of cultural developments and community projects; it’s something I found so inspiring. Although the bid has been and gone I still take my role pretty seriously, which is why I’m here today talking about the Beacon of Light.
Beacon of Light, in Sunderland, is the North East’s newest sports, health, education and events venue. Funded by Sport England, which is a funding programme by the National Lottery, this 1.5million facility is an all-inclusive community hub. With the mission to provide world-class sporting facilities alongside first-class education and training facilities for everyone, it’s a motivating setting that is the first of its kind in the UK.
Built to address the challenges faced by the local community, such as education, health and wellbeing, sports and play and the world of work, the Beacon of Light is for everyone. Its selection of programmes are set to help people from 18 months to great, great grandparents – it even has an on-site nursery.
I was invited by the National Lottery to explore this new hub and see for myself the benefits it has on my local community. Although I’ve drove past this building a million times I really wasn’t prepared for how impressed I’d be. The moment I walked through its sliding doors I was greeted by an open-plan, multi-story space filled with groups of school children who were there to use the facilities.
It was heartwarming to see that even on a Saturday the state-of-the-art sporting facilities were all being used by community sports groups and schools. I especially loved the fact that two basketball courts were being used by women’s netball teams, yes ladies! As I was walking around I also noticed a lot of plaques that have been dedicated to people and local businesses who have gave something to help bring this community hub to life, which was pretty remarkable to see.
If the Beacon of Light wasn’t unique enough it continues to support communities in the North East by putting all its proceeds go back into the Foundation of Light charity.
Have you been to the Beacon of Light yet? This was in collaborate with the National Lottery and Sunderland’s #UntoldStories series.
Sarah Jayne x
Want to know more about Sunderland? Read more about the city here.