New Sunderland BID affiliate scheme is a hit with small businesses

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A new scheme to help small enterprises in Sunderland city centre is doing the business.

Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) launched its affiliate scheme earlier this year, giving organisations which aren’t levy payers the option of paying a small fee to enjoy a range of opportunities.

The scheme now has 18 members including Lofthouse and Partners, Building Design North and Hanro and has recently added commercial property owners and landlord Kirtley Co.

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The company has transformed Mackies Corner in the city centre, creating a range of retail units and work spaces and has seen at first hand the important role the BID has played in revitalising the area.


Director Alex Kirtley was keen to sign up: “We have always worked closely with the BID and the launch of the affiliate scheme was a great opportunity for us to be able to contribute as we didn’t qualify as levy payers previously,” she said.

“We know that the city centre wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for the work that the BID does so we were delighted to be able to get more involved.

“The benefits of taking part are great and I hope that we will be able to encourage our tenants to also sign up.”

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Alex revealed there will be ‘some really exciting announcements about two new food and beverage offerings in the near future’.                                                               

“We are currently undergoing a bit of a refresh to change it all up and making some amends,” said Alex.

“But the response to our flexible work space has been amazing, with around 1,200 visitors a week and a lot of interest in other units, which we want to fill with lifestyle businesses or some kind of experience.

“It’s a very exciting time.”

BID chief executive Sharon Appleby is pleased to have Kirtley Co on board: “We are delighted that more and more companies are starting to recognise the benefits of being part of the scheme and what that can offer them,” she said.

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“Not only do they get access to networking events and get offered volunteering opportunities for staff they can also feed in their opinions on decisions which will help shape the future of the city.

“At the same time they will also be invited to a range of events, training sessions and business seminars as well as being involved in marketing activities.

“We look forward to welcoming more and more businesses into the scheme.”

Anyone wanting to join the scheme or find out more can email [email protected] or visit 

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