The Beacon of Light passed another important milestone at the weekend when Foundation Trustees approved the start of construction at a meeting at the Stadium of Light.
Tolent Construction, who won the tender to build the Beacon, which will fuse together sport, education, the world of work, health and well-being, are expected to move onto site next to the Stadium of Light during the week.
Chair of Trustees of the Foundation Sir Bob Murray CBE said: “The Beacon of Light will be a first for the Foundation and for the region, so we’re thrilled to be moving on site and starting work this week.
We are immensely grateful to our patrons, benefactors, sponsors and supporters for backing us. It has been heartening to work with so many likeminded people who share values, and who want to make a lasting difference to people in the North East.
“Their vision and generosity will inspire many more people to learn more, do more and be more, and will change countless lives.”
The striking cube-shaped development will be the first building of its kind in the country and house 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 education, the world of work, health and wellbeing, sport and play will combine together with excellent views into a sports arena.
Foundation CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE added: “Working with a very talented design team from the north east including project managers Identity Consult and architects Faulkner Browns the construction programme has been cleverly developed in two phases.
“We are starting preliminary works as well as the substantive elements of the building now and will complete the programme when we have finalised the phase 2 funding.
“The Foundation has already raised a large proportion of the £18m build costs and we are confident we will secure the remaining £3m in the coming months.”
Trustee Sir Tim Rice said: “The Trustees of the Foundation were unanimous in their backing to the move on site this week.
The Beacon, like the Foundation, will be pioneering in its approach and aspirations, and this is why it has already captured the attention of so many people and institutions from sports governing bodies, to educationalists, politicians and the business community.
“It will be a landmark destination delivering a meaningful and lasting legacy and it will represent a significant step change for the charity in terms of what we will be able to deliver in the future.”
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.