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MFC Foundation in discussions to move HQ to Southlands Centre in boost to East Middlesbrough

Leisure and entertainment

Wednesday, 01 May 2024
Representatives at the Southlands site

Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation are in discussions to move to a brand-new Southlands Centre in an exciting move which would provide a huge boost to East Middlesbrough.

The Foundation hopes to successfully conclude final plans and funding agreements to move from its current HQ at the Riverside Stadium to the soon-to-be-built centre in TS3, which will feature upgraded sports facilities and a first-class new community facility.

Subject to planning approval, the first phase of the development would see the new hub operated by the Foundation, as well as upgrades to the current 3G and grass football pitches, new green open space and new sports changing facilities, in partnership with Middlesbrough Council.

A second phase of the scheme could see further extensions and improvements to the site.

Mayor Chris Cooke has praised plans for the area and welcomed the Foundation, which exists to raise aspirations, help to realise potential and improve life chances across the region.

He said: "It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but I’m delighted to welcome the MFC Foundation to Middlesbrough as a partner to deliver this ambitious and much-needed project.

"The Southlands site is a key asset in the town, and I know that the people of East Middlesbrough will welcome this high-quality development.

"The new facility will be a community asset, help to boost the physical and mental health of our population and provide a state-of-the-art venue for sports and the community."

Lynsey Edwards, Head of Middlesbrough FC Foundation, said: “We’re delighted with the progress made in our discussions with the Council and excited at the prospect of relocating the Foundation’s headquarters to the Southlands in East Middlesbrough.

“The Southlands facility will provide a wide range of activity in the heart of the community, and we feel privileged to be working with the Council and the community to develop this offer.”

Cllr Theo Furness, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: "The redeveloped Southlands site will host a wide range of activities for everyone in the community, and it's fantastic news that the MFC Foundation are involved.

"Having played for Middlesbrough as a youth, I understand how important the football club and the Foundation are to the town, and having a top-class facility on our doorstep will help to inspire the next generation of sports stars."

The Southlands Project Representative Group, made up of Independent and Labour councillors in TS3 wards Park End and Beckfield, Brambles and Thorntree and Berwick Hills and Pallister plus local residents and the town’s two MPs, have worked closely with the council to bring forward plans for the site.

The group said in a statement: “The group is excited to see plans progress to restore the Southlands Centre as the heart of our community.

“Having the MFC Foundation on board will help to encourage people living in East Middlesbrough to use the facility and take part in sport and other community activities.

“A lot of hard work has gone in to get to this point by everyone involved and we’re looking forward to seeing that pay off.”

Proposals set to be submitted to the Council’s planning department would see the revamped Southlands host a wide range of provision including football, other physical activity, mentoring and education.

Grassroots sports clubs and other organisations would also use the site.

The community hub – featuring community rooms, a hall and a multi-use teaching room along with a kitchen area - would also host training workshops, employability courses, education, mentoring and social sessions.

Currently, the Foundation engages with 38,000 people a year, of all ages and backgrounds across the Tees Valley, in a wide range of activities.

They work with people aged two to 102 - from running Roary’s Academy for young children to the Foundation’s Dementia Care Home work.

A CGI showing a representative view of what the first phase of the plans will look like