In my recent blogs I've been talking about not only agreeing our ambitious City Plan, but delivering on it right from the outset, with some big, exciting regeneration and economic infrastructure projects.

Announcements over the past couple of months have included the launch of Riverside Sunderland and the development and investment taking place on the former Vaux site, including hundreds of jobs being brought to the first building - the Beam, work beginning on the new City Hall, and Legal and General investing over £100m in further, top quality office space.

We've also become the first city in the UK to put in place a 5G ready wifi network in and around the city centre, and we are pushing on with a programme to roll it out throughout the city. The construction of phase three of the Strategic Transport Corridor is also moving apace connecting Northern Spire to the city centre via a new stretch of dual carriageway.

So with these and many other projects and initiatives happening, I think it's safe to say that under the 'dynamic' bit of the City Plan (it's based on three key themes - dynamic, healthy and vibrant), fantastic progress is being made.

And I am delighted to report that the healthy and vibrant elements have also received a real boost this past week with the launch of a network of three spectacular sports hubs in the city.

£18m of investment has gone into facilities at Washington, Downhill and Ford Quarry, in 10 artificial grass pitches across the three sites, new and upgraded buildings and changing facilities, and at Downhill, a 60 station gym.

Interest from residents in using the hubs has broken Football Foundation records and since the Washington one started operating in November, there have been 16,000 sign ups!

It's well known that in Sunderland we love our football, but still the council's funding partners - the Premier League, the Football Association and the Government's Football Foundation - have been blown away and greatly encouraged by the record numbers of our residents who want to take part in football and other fitness and sports activities at these fantastic hubs.

Grass roots sport including football is so important to set young people on a healthy and positive lifestyle path - and for some, can be the beginning of a career on the world stage (think Jordan Henderson, Jordan Pickford and no fewer than 8 of last year's Lionesses World Cup squad who all started at a grass roots level or from a very early stage, in Sunderland).

So I couldn't be prouder that we've been able to work with our fantastic partners to bring these hubs to Sunderland - the sorts of opportunities they offer are no more than our residents deserve and I can't wait to see the next generation developing their skills and spending many happy, healthy hours taking part in sport and physical exercise in these state of the art facilities.

More details can be found about what the hubs offer on our Sunderland Parklife page - do take a look, get along, and get involved.

Cllr Graeme Miller
Leader