Sunderland football club to improve facilities after council grant

An amateur football club in Washington has been awarded £90,000 in grant funding to upgrade sports facilities in the area.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 9:58 am
The Northern Area Playing Fields.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet agreed to allocate the funding to improve the offer at the Northern Area Playing Fields, off Stephenson Road, home to Washington AFC.

It comes after earlier this year the club, in partnership with the council and the Football Foundation, obtained planning permission for the upgrade of the playing pitch and surrounding facilities at the site.

The £90,000 being allocated by the council comes from developer contributions as part of approved plans from Karbon Homes to build 76 homes at Albany Park, the club’s former ground.

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The grant has been approved by Sunderland City Council.

As part of the planning conditions the developer agreed, amongst other things, to make a financial contribution of £100,000 towards the provision of improved sports pitches and facilities in Washington.

Councillor Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, speaking at the cabinet’s latest meeting, outlined how this is the best use of the funding.

She said: “We’d like to authorise the executive director of neighbourhoods to award £90,000 in grant funding to Washington Amatuer Football Club to facilitate the significant and timely improvements of sports facilities in the Washington area.

“It is not considered that there are any suitable alternative schemes in the local area which are of a comparable scale and immediately deliverable.”

The total cost of the proposed scheme, which includes improvements to the football pitch and installation of floodlighting, dugouts, covered spectator stands, turnstile and fencing is estimated at £276,181.

The club, who compete in the Northern League Division 2, have been awarded £99,981 in funding from the Football Foundation to contribute to delivery of the scheme, which they are required to procure match funding for.

Of the £90,000 allocated by the council, £41,460 will be used on the installation of floodlighting, £21,250 will be used to provide two covered stands, and £21,840 will go towards pitchside barrier fencing.

Finally a balance of £5,450 will go towards the installation of a turnstile.

A city council cabinet report noted that if they did not approve the move then it could lead to the loss of “significant external funding” from the Football Foundation to the club and the city.

It adds the proposals also ensure the facilities comply with Northern League standards moving forward.