Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been sharing some of the fascinating things I found out about our wonderful city while filming Untold Stories: Sunderland, for The National Lottery.
One of the locations we visited was The Beacon of Light.
Personally, I had the Beacon down as simply a very impressive sports centre, after watching my daughter play football there in the summer.
While it is a brilliant, state of the art facility, my most recent visit taught me that it has an awful lot more to offer, and that beyond the football pitches, the venue is having a hugely positive impact on our community.
With the help of National Lottery funding, the all inclusive hub works with a broad age range, from toddlers and teenagers to more mature Mackems, some of whom are in their 80s, to help them deal with the challenges they face in their local community.
The venue is using sport as a medium to inspire, support and encourage people for all kinds of reasons, whether it be helping people gain confidence, helping to improve their health and even improve their job prospects and employability.
Education is at the heart of this project and everyone we met at The Beacon of Light spoke very passionately about their love for the city, it’s residents and the programmes and services delivered.
Not only that, the facilities are mind blowing, from the class rooms to the roof top football pitch, you really do feel like you’re stepping into somewhere very special as soon as you walk through the door.
The Beacon of Light isn’t just focused on sport. While filming, I was extremely surprised to learn that one in five adults in our region has the mathematics abilities of a seven to nine-year-old, and it is statistics like this that the Beacon was created to help change.
We also learned that it’s been proven that sport is an excellent way to be able to improve education and life chances for all sorts of different people.
The best part about this project is, there really is something for everyone there.
You don’t even need to have played sport before to get involved in activities at the Beacon.
I’d urge everyone in the city to check out this incredible building and the fantastic projects, activities and programmes that take place there.
If you’re interested in seeing the videos we filmed, you can check them out on the National Lottery Good Causes’ Facebook page.