A state-of-the-art community space will be built in the heart of County Durham to help produce the next generation of footballers in the region. 

Around £1.6m has been raised to revamp Beamish Football Centre, which in recent years has been a stomping ground for a raft of Newcastle United and Championship professionals such as Newcastle United wonderkids Jamie and Lewis Milley, Coventry’s Ben Wilson and ex-Everton defender Lewis Gibson.

The site will be a leading community centre for both education and sport and will feature a host of “Premier League level” facilities that will benefit both male and female footballers.

The Northern Echo: An artist impression of how the Beamish football centre will look An artist impression of how the Beamish football centre will look (Image: MGM CONSTRUCTION)

An artist’ impression of the refurbished site has now been released whilst a North East firm, MGM Construction, will break ground on the development in January.

“This is an unbelievably exciting project, and we are thrilled to have been selected as the construction partner to help bring this community hub to life,” said Ryan Gardiner, Director of MGM Construction.

“The centre is going to cement Beamish Football Centre’s reputation as a major grassroots footballing force in the North East, whilst providing an upgraded, vibrant space that will benefit the wider community.

“It is going to be a real asset for the area, and we are over-the-moon that our talented team have been tasked with delivering something so special for the community.”

The Northern Echo: A look at how the £1.6m facility will look A look at how the £1.6m facility will look (Image: MGM CONSTRUCTION)

And once open, the centre will be the realisation of a decade-long dream.

Born out of the ashes of the disused Stanley School of Technology, a local not-for-profit organisation – Stanley Events – took the old PE block and converted it into Beamish Football Centre.

To date, the centre has helped improve the lives of over 3,000 people while Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light regularly stages coaching programmes there.

However, the planned facelift will breathe life into the ageing space whilst massively enhancing the building’s appearance.

Training facilities will be upgraded, with a new bar and a function space.

Indoors, there will be training spaces for both education and fitness while larger rooms will open training courses up to even more learners.

The project has been realised thanks to money from the key funder, the Youth Investment Fund, which to date has invested over £300m into projects across the UK that improve youth facilities and services.

The scheme was pulled together on behalf of Stanley Events by architect Mawson Kerr, consulting engineers Jasper Kett and Elvet Consultants who are acting as the Clients Representative and Project Manager for the development.

Having operated at close to capacity for a long time, Carl Marshall – who runs Stanley Events with wife Anna - said he was thrilled work was finally set to get underway.

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“This is the perfect time to bring this dream to life, and we are delighted that MGM Construction will be our construction partner,” he added.

“This is a major project for the area, so it was vital we found the right firm we could trust to deliver it, and MGM’s track record is second to none.

“We can’t wait for work to get underway in 2024, and to deliver something special for our wonderful community.”