A £500,000 investment is starting to pay off as a new football facility takes shape.
Just two months after work began to lay the foundations at the Northern Area Playing Fields, in Washington, its new pavilion is starting to look like the finished product.
It is hoped that disabled access facilities will be open by the end of next month after Sunderland City Council, Washington Football Club, Sport England and the Football Foundation clubbed together for the project.
The new pavilion facility will consist of six changing rooms, two referees’ rooms, a large storage area and a kitchen in the building, together with a variety of outdoor pitches for 11-a-side, nine-a-side and seven-a-side games outside.
“Ever since our founding in July 2009, Washington Football Club have been planning for somewhere our players, coaches and parents can call home,” said the club’s head of football, Gary Sykes.
“Currently, we provide football for boys and girls aged four to 16, and we also have a senior women’s team.
“We have 36 teams, each with their own dedicated voluntary coach. In total, we provide coaching to 70 girls, 320 boys and 20 ladies on a weekly basis.
“This new facility will allow the club to flourish, to have the best training facility for our club members, and also involve the community for many years to come.
“This could not have been done without the support of Sunderland City Council, the Football Foundation, Sport England and also not forgetting the fund-raising of players of Washington Football Club.”
Councillor Peter Walker, Sunderland City Council’s representative on the club’s new facilities committee, said: “Football is a great, inclusive sport, and we should be proud of the achievements and diversity of members in the club.
“It is also a great testament to the local community that the coaches are all volunteers who take a lot of time out of their busy daily lives to support the young people of the area.
“This project shows that even at a time of severe government cutbacks, by sourcing funding and working with partners, we can still provide clubs with top-class facilities.”