October 18, 2019 @ 10:55 by Chloe Holmes
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has named the Beacon of Light as the national winner of the Community Benefit award at its Grand Final in London.
The prestigious award is the eighth gong the Beacon has been awarded in its first year of opening; cementing its status as one of the best new buildings in the UK.
Earlier this week the state-of-the art facility was shortlisted in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019 in the Social Enterprise category.
The £19 million Beacon of Light is home to Sunderland AFC official charity, Foundation of Light, and is the first not-for-profit building of its kind in the UK. As a community hub it offers sport, education, employability and health programmes for all ages with all proceeds being donated to the Foundation of Light to support its award-winning programmes across Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham.
The RICS Awards showcase and celebrate the achievements of chartered surveyors who are advancing innovations to create better places and spaces, and who are building resilient, successful communities. Across eight individual categories, the awards are regarded as the premier property and construction awards in the country, celebrating the most innovative projects in the region and their impact on local communities.
RICS judges said, “the Beacon of Light has successfully delivered on its goal to involve, encourage, inspire and motivate. They praised the project team – FaulknerBrowns, Foundation of Light, Identity Consult and Tolent – for delivering an exemplary, much-loved community asset that is averaging over 5,500 visitors each week.”
In July, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the Beacon of Light as part of the Great British Buildings 2019 programme, alongside major projects such as London’s restored Battersea Arts Centre and the historic Hollis Building in Sheffield.
Foundation of Light Chair of Trustees, Sir Bob Murray CBE said: “We are delighted that the Beacon has been recognised once again as one of the best buildings in the UK.
“The Beacon holds a special place in my heart as a gift from the Foundation to every man, woman and child in Sunderland and beyond. As a football-inspired charity, the Beacon sets the Foundation of Light apart from all others, bringing together the best of what football and sport can encourage, motivate and achieve. It gives us a unique place to welcome and support all generations and a setting to perfectly complement the work of our partners to continue to revitalise, rejuvenate and strengthen our region.
“There is nowhere else quite like the Beacon. Since we opened last September, we have welcomed over 200,000 people through our doors. Not only is this building architecturally stunning but it is making a real and positive difference to local lives. It is a first for the North East and a first for the UK, and I am confident it will inspire many more people to try something new, learn more and change their lives for the better.”