Sunderland City Council have officially unveiled its three state-of-the-art £18m sporting hubs, which will see the city leading the way in grassroots football with some of the best third generation (3G) and community football facilities in the country.
The prestigious project is the first in the region and only the fourth in the country. There are three of these brilliant and innovative hubs: Downhill, Ford and Washington.
Sunderland great and the safest hands in Hendon, Jimmy Montgomery, and current Black Cats first-teamers, Duncan Watmore and Denver Hume, were on-hand to officially unveil them, representing the biggest ever investment into a portfolio of grassroots sporting facilities in the North-East.
This project has been made possible by a £14m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, including a £3.8m contribution from Sunderland City Council.
The project will see the creation of ten full-size 3G artificial grass pitches (AGPs) across the Downhill, Ford and Washington hubs, as well as new and refurbished buildings at each site, fitted with changing rooms, café areas, and social and education spaces.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 375 grants worth £72m towards grassroots sports projects across the whole of the Durham County FA region.
England ladies captain, Steph Houghton MBE from Hetton, who began her football career in Sunderland, Jill Scott MBE from Monkwearmouth, who also began her career with Sunderland, and Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, from Washington, all kindly spoke about the brand new investment to Sunderland.