Community football in Sunderland is being given a major boost with the start on site for three new multi-million pound Football Hubs at Community North Sports Complex (Downhill), Ford Quarry and The Northern Area Playing Fields (Washington) by Esh Construction.

The Football Foundation project, which is the first in the region and fourth in the country, will see the creation of 10 Full Size third generation (3G) artificial grass Football pitches (AGPs) across the portfolio which will be complemented by state of the art pavilions incorporating social space and changing areas.

Community North Sports Complex will also see a brand new health and fitness offer included within the building. Four existing grass pitches will be upgraded (one at Northern Area and three at Community North Sports Complex).

The £18.04m project is being funded by the Premier League, The FA, the Government, the Football Foundation, Sport England and Sunderland City Council.

Sunderland City Council Leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, said: “Following on from the wonderful news of Sunderland being formally awarded funding in November, the start of construction on site is a huge step towards Sunderland Community Football Hubs becoming a reality.

“Not only will the hubs be a huge plus for community football in the city, we can be proud to be leading the way in having some of the finest community facilities in the country.”

Paul Redman, Divisional Director of Esh Construction, said: “It’s great to be working alongside Sunderland City Council on another brilliant scheme which is a fantastic investment for the city. The hubs will provide great opportunities for all ages to play sport on first class facilities”.

“We are looking forward to engaging with the community and local schools across the area providing a range of Social Value initiatives whilst delivering this project”.

Each of the hubs will be operated by Pulse Soccer who have now been confirmed as the operators for all three hubs following a successful tender in 2018.

Pulse Soccer comes with a rich pedigree as the operator for both the Sheffield and Liverpool Football Hub models.

It is anticipated that all three hubs will become operational this year, enabling football to be played across the sites in the 2019/20 football season.

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