A new organisation aims to give Wearside’s small businesses a united voice.
Sunderland Small Traders’ Association, which is open to council tenants, has been launched by a group of business people who want to work together.
It has a formal constitution and will be holding regular meetings at which members will be able to voice any worries or thoughts they may have over a wide range of business issues.
Chairman Buta Sangha said the aim was to give the sector a higher profile and greater influence over matters which are of concern to members.
“Small traders are the backbone of local communities, providing a vital service on the doorstep, and creating much-needed employment,” he said.
“But they often work long, anti-social hours, with little time off, which can make it difficult to maintain contacts and stay on top of issues such as business rates, rents and tenancy agreements.”
The aim of establishing the association was to give the sector a unified voice and allow traders to share their experience.
“We believe we are stronger together,” said Mr Sangha.
“We have created the association in the hope it will not only give our sector a stronger voice, but will allow us to pool our resources, experience and expertise.
“We have members who have been working in the sector for many years and are happy to share the benefit of their experience with others.
“It can be all too easy when running a small business to feel that you are the first person ever to encounter a particular challenge or that you have no choice but to face problems on your own.
“However, it is almost certain that someone among our membership will have experienced exactly the same situation and will be happy to share details of how they dealt with it.
“We also believe that there is strength in numbers when it comes to dealing with complex issues such as rents and tenancy agreements.”
Anyone wanting more information on the association can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.