Beacon of Light

  • © Jill Tate
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Richard Chivers
  • © Jill Tate
  • © Richard Chivers

Special Award

Community Impact & Engagement Special Award

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Special Award

Region

North East

Local Authority Area

Sunderland

Information about this scheme

Beacon of Light was born from the Foundation of Light (FoL) charity’s pledge to combat reported shortcomings in the region’s education, health and employment skills. Proactive stakeholder engagement moulded the project concept.

Consultation with FoL partners and local grassroots sports clubs established their aspirations and requirements. Consultations with local schools shaped the educational offer and public consultations helped communicate the project vision and gauge expectations.

In its opening year the building averaged around 4,500 visitors each week. By 2020 this is projected to rise to 6,000. The building has already engaged a diverse range of people, giving them access to a valuable range of educational, wellbeing and healthy lifestyle resources, as well as opportunities to participate in a multitude of activities. This includes traditionally ‘hard to reach’ individuals within the local community – people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties; adults and young people not in employment, education or training; and those disengaged from mainstream education.

The Education Zone is home to classroom-based education for children, adults and families, covering a diverse range of topics, from core subjects like numeracy and literacy, to first aid and more. Many students have recognised improvements in their attitude to learning since starting, and are feeling empowered to accomplish great things.

The Health and Wellbeing Zone offers support for those suffering with physical and mental health, with physiotherapy and aid for veterans recovering from trauma central to the area’s delivery. Health and Wellbeing is also embedded across all areas of the Beacon including the on-site healthy Centre Circle Kitchen and Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food kitchen. The Indoor Arena has become home to many sports clubs and leagues.

The addition of activities like walking football and netball ensures that everybody can take part, regardless of age or ability. The rooftop 4G pitch and outdoor 3G pitches host grassroots and youth football, including Foundation Scholars and Girls’ Regional Talent Club. The World of Work Zone offers learning experiences and qualifications in a range of industries which the region has skills shortages, including engineering, catering and construction.

The FoL enables many of the Beacon’s activities to be offered free or at low-cost and all proceeds go back into the charity to fund continued support for communities across the region. Through its work at the Beacon it is predicted that the FoL will generate up to £73m worth of social return-on-investment over the next 20 years.

Credits

Architect

FaulknerBrowns Architects

Client

Foundation of Light

Main Contractor

Tolent

Applicant

FaulknerBrowns Architects

Interior Designer

FaulknerBrowns Architects

Project Manager

Identity Consult

Services Engineer

JH Partners

Structural Engineer

Shed

Planning Consultant

Wardell Armstrong

Primary Use Class

Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure