Beacon of Light

The Beacon of Light is a sports, community and education facility, located in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear. The £19m[1] facility was commissioned by the Foundation of Light, and became the headquarters of the charity when it opened in September 2018. The beacon is located in Stadium Park, alongside the Sunderland Aquatic Centre and the North Stand of the Stadium of Light.

Beacon of Light
Location within Tyne and Wear
General information
TypeSports & Education Centre
LocationStadiun Park, Sunderland
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates54°54′58.68″N 1°23′25.44″W
Construction started5 October 2016
CompletedMay 2018
Opened14 September 2018
Cost£19 million GBP
OwnerFoundation of Light
Roof26 metres (85 ft)
Technical details
Floor count6
Floor area11,140 m2 (119,900 sq ft)
Design and construction
Structural engineers h e d
Main contractorTolent Construction


The Foundation of Light opened an education facility, The Centre of Light, within the Stadium of Light in 2004.[2] The classrooms were a huge success, so much so that the Foundation outgrew them. This prompted Foundation chief executive Lesley Spuhler to look to commission a bigger venue.[3]

The Beacon was given approval to begin construction in October 2015, and received financial support from the Tom Cowie Foundation, and Foundation of Light trustees Peter Vardy and Bob Murray.[4] Further investors included the North East Local Enterprise Partnership,[5] Arriva,[6] and Tombola.[7]

The Beacon was designed to provide both indoor and outdoor sporting facilities and spaces for both adult and school-level education. It can also support events and exhibitions, with a 2,084 Square metre exhibition space supporting a maximum capacity of 3,425.[8] It is expected to serve up to 300,000 people per year.[3]

Construction was complete in May 2018.[9] The Beacon was opened in phases, with people able to use the football facilities from June 2018.[10] It officially opened on 14 September 2018.




Level 0
Level 1
  • Entrance & Cafe
  • Sir Tom Cowie Education Zone
  • The Vardy Heath and Wellbeing Zone, which will incorporate a Jamie Oliver cookery school [11]
Level 2
  • Foundation of Light Work Space
  • Arriva 'World of Work' Zone [6]
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
  • Rooftop viewing gallery

The Beacon is designed in a cube shape with a luminous roof which lights up at night.[13]


  1. "Take a glimpse at the Beacon of Light". Sunderland Association Football Club. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  2. " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  3. Ford, Coreena (17 May 2015). "Business Interview: Lesley Spuhler, chief executive of the Foundation of Light". journallive. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  4. "Beacon of Light will get Seven Figures Sum from Famous Families". Sunderland Echo.
  5. "North East LEP backs Beacon to create jobs". Foundation of Light. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  6. "£500,000 Arriva investment is just the ticket for Beacon of Light". Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  7. "Top of the shop - Beacon of Light lands £500,000 tombola donation". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  8. Sunderland City Council. "Beacon of Light - Design and Access Statement" (PDF).
  9. "Pride as Beacon is Handed Over". Sunderland Echo.
  10. "Opening date announced for Beacon of Light pitches + win a month of games worth £180". Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  11. Thompson, Craig (1 June 2016). "Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver brings food revolution to Sunderland". nechronicle. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  12. "Beacon of Light School - GOV.UK". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  13. "Top of the shop - Beacon of Light lands £500,000 tombola donation". Sunderland Echo. Jonston Press.
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