Council sets up company to run Sunderland Airshow

Launching Sunderland Live the new events organisation for the city are Chris Alexander ( left) chief operating officer for Sunderland Live, and council leader Paul Watson
Launching Sunderland Live the new events organisation for the city are Chris Alexander ( left) chief operating officer for Sunderland Live, and council leader Paul Watson
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THE head of a new company responsible for delivering some of the North East’s biggest events has pledged to keep them “big and bold”.

Sunderland Live, which operates in partnership with Sunderland City Council, will take over the running of major events including the Sunderland International Airshow, the Sunderland Festival and the Marathon of the North.

The organisation will be headed by Chris Alexander, who has moved from his role as head of culture and tourism at the local authority.

He will be supported by an 18-strong team, transferred from the council, who are aiming to strengthen the city’s events programme and its commercial potential.

Mr Alexander, now chief operating officer at Sunderland Live, said: “The creation of Sunderland Live is a really innovative way of delivering cost savings for the council and of making sure that our events are as big and bold as they can possibly be.

“Unlocking the commercial opportunities that our events programme offer is something we can do much more effectively as a stand-alone business than we could as part of the council’s team, so it is a really creative way of ensuring that the city delivers events that are real showstoppers and that help to put Sunderland on the map, while offering savings to the council.”

Mr Alexander said an official launch party, held at Angelo’s Ristorante, in Sunniside, was a great chance to ensure that key stakeholders and partners were aware of the new company.

“The event was a great way to get started with Sunderland Live, to thank people for their support, share more information about the new business, and to toast what we are sure will be a very successful new way of delivering the city’s events programme,” he said.

The get-together was attended by council leader Councillor Paul Watson, as well as members of the Sunderland Live team, and a host of businesses the council’s events team has worked with in the past.

“In these times of economic constraints, we are always looking for better value for money and to ensure that we are doing more with less,” said Coun Watson. “The events company will ensure that we do that.

“It will also allow us to continue the excellent work that we have been doing with events such as the air show.”

For more information about the company, visit www.sunderlandlive.co.uk.