Fundraising for the Beacon of Light project has topped £10million, Sunderland AFC’s official charity has announced.
The Foundation of Light submitted planning permission for the development, on the banks of the Wear, and still has £5million more to raise.
However, the charity has been left ‘delighted’ with the fundraising effort so far, with the development set to provide indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, as well as areas for education.
Margaret Fay CBE, deputy chair of the Beacon fundraising board, said: “We started fundraising with an ambitious £15million target to deliver in a tough climate.
“We are delighted to have reached the £10million milestone with pledges from generous benefactors, leading trusts and commitments from the private sector, and have a number of exciting sponsorship and benefactor announcements to make in the coming weeks.
“We still have over £5million to raise, but are very confident that with the increasing interest from potential commercial partners and funding bodies alike that we will reach our target to make the Beacon a reality for the region.”
We are delighted to have reached the £10million milestoneMargaret Fay CBE
The cube-shaped Beacon is expected to welcome over 300,000 people through its doors every year, and will be built on a triangular plot directly to the north-west of the Stadium of Light and Sunderland Aquatic Centre, in the Stadium Park area.
There will be house education and training facilities on the ground floor, with an indoor football pitch above, while there will also be a busy street inside the building, along which the various activities will interconnect.
Sir Bob Murray, chair of trustees of the foundation, added: “The Beacon of Light will be a first, and I have no doubt it will become a building with a very big reputation.
“The building has been designed by leading architects Faulkner Brown and will epitomise the pioneering work of the Foundation in the North East and beyond.
“It is great to see our vision to fuse sport, education, the world of work and health and well-being is now exciting so many people in sport and education as well as potential partners.”