WEARSIDE MATTERS: Sunderland 2021 becomes milestone member

Crowds gather for Sunderland's City of Culture bid in the city's Keelman's Square last September.
Crowds gather for Sunderland's City of Culture bid in the city's Keelman's Square last September.
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Sunderland’s City of Culture Bid has become the 50th organisation to sign up to a group that aims to breathe new life into the city.

Sunderland 2021 has signed up to Sunderland Business Partnership, a powerful membership organisation that brings together businesses and people with a passion for the city.

Marketing professional Natasha McDonough.

Marketing professional Natasha McDonough.

The organisation leading Sunderland’s cultural bid – which was formed thanks to a partnership between Sunderland City Council, the University of Sunderland and the MAC Trust – signed up to the initiative after seeing the value Sunderland Business Partnership is adding to the city.

Rebecca Ball, director of Sunderland 2021, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of Sunderland’s bid to become a City of Culture – we were formed collaboratively and we will develop our bid in this way.

“That is something really special, and really highlights what Sunderland is about.

“Joining the Sunderland Business Partnership felt like a very natural fit for us, and we know that we will get a huge amount of value from being a partner.

“The opportunity to work with businesses that have a huge interest in and enthusiasm for Sunderland to help shape our bid, is one that we know will make it stronger and more reflective of all that makes Sunderland special.”

The Business Partnership, which works closely with Sunderland City Council, is a forum through which businesses can proactively tackle the challenges the city faces and help to shine a spotlight on the things that make Sunderland a great place to live, work, study, do business and visit.

As well as regular meetings, members receive newsletters updating them about key developments in the city, images and fact sheets to help them market the city more effectively and other benefits like discounts on events in Sunderland.

Chair of the partnership Gary Hutchinson, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Sunderland 2021 team to the partnership.

“It really is clear that the spirit of Sunderland’s bid will be one of collaboration and partnership, so to have them as part of a group that is absolutely aligned to that, is great.

“Sunderland is already a city of culture, whether or not we are awarded the title, but of course we are in it to win it, and we very much look forward – through the partnership – to feeding into a bid that we hope will show the judges what Sunderland is made of.”

Sunderland declared its intention to bid to be a City of Culture in 2015, and will submit its first stage bid document to judges in early 2017.

There is then a second stage for shortlisted bids, before the winner is named at the end of 2017.

If successful, Sunderland’s year under the cultural spotlight will be delivered in 2021.

Hull was the last winner of the competition, and it is estimated that winning the status will deliver a £60m economic boost to the area, creating jobs and tourism opportunities throughout the East Riding.

Projections indicate some 1,200 jobs could be created in tourism and culture, that it will bring about a 20 per cent growth in creative industries and that around seven million visitors could come to the city as a result of its title.

To find out more about Sunderland’s bid to become a City of Culture, visit www.sunderland2021.com

To learn more about Sunderland Business Partnership or to become a member, contact the team at Ashmore Consulting Limited on 0191 500 8585 or email mark.hodgson@ashmoreconsulting.co.uk

Marketing professional Natasha moves to new office as she gears up to grow her business

A marketing professional has celebrated a year in business with a move into a new office space as she gears up to grow her Sunderland-based marketing agency.

Natasha McDonough is celebrating securing her 20th client by taking office space in Sunderland Software Centre and planning to expand her in-house team.

The experienced marketing professional, who has enjoyed a successful career in London, Sydney and Los Angeles, said: “McDonough Marketing Communications was set up to be an agile, responsive marketing business.

“The model I adopt is to call upon a network of the very best professionals to draw upon the skills my client needs at any given time.

“I have a trusted and highly experienced team of SEO, PPC, branding, PR and media specialists. It’s a business model that my clients appreciate as they see results and enjoy the fact that I manage the whole process for them.

“While I am keen that the business always operates like this, the rapid growth I have seen has made it important for me to increase capacity, and so an office move enables me to bring on a permanent member of the team to support me across all projects.”

Working with a range of clients across many sectors, not least software and technology companies, McDonough Marketing Communication’s most recent clients include Fort Bullion, a Gold Bullion eCommerce company, as well as developing a marketing strategy for growing technology company, Excelpoint.

Ian Brown, Managing Director of Excelpoint, says: “Natasha’s engaging style and ability to demonstrate her depth of knowledge of the tech industry has allowed us to kick start our project with confidence. The innovative business model that Natasha offers means that Excelpoint benefits from someone that can manage the entire process – just like I’d expect by hiring a permanent in house marketing director.

“We get the benefit of one person managing many. We’re looking forward to increased growth over the next year through implementing Natasha’s strategy.”

For more information about McDonough Marketing Communications, visit www.mmc.agency