Swap presents for pizza with Proven People's Christmas Toy Appeal in Sunderland

A city restaurant has launched a Christmas toy appeal where people can swap presents for pizza.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 4:43 pm

Proven People, which transformed an empty building in Burdon Road earlier this year, is marking its first Christmas with a campaign aimed at helping the community.

With their Christmas Gifts For Kids Appeal they’re encouraging diners to donate a toy which will be given to good causes in the city this Christmas. If you show the receipt for the toy, they’ll double that amount in selected dishes for you and your friends to enjoy.

"It’s a win-win situation really,” explained co-owner Lee Forster. “It means people can support a good cause, but say they spend £5 on a gift, they’ll receive £10 of pizza in return.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Proven People part owner Lee Forster with his son Reggie Robinson Forster, two and chef Leon Dodd (right) are running a Christmas toy appeal.

Lee and business partners Paul Stewart and Elliot Towsey sympathetically restored and repurposed the old railway manager’s office after it had stood empty for a number of years, creating a new pizza restaurant, bar and DJ venue in the city.

"When we opened it was always our intention to do our bit for the community,” explained Lee. “Elliot suggested we do the toy appeal and it’s a great idea. People have already been dropping presents off, and aren’t even wanting pizza in return, they’re doing it out of good will.”

Proven People is one in a number of new businesses to open their doors in the city centre this year, along with Spent Grain in John Street, CoffeeHaus in John Street, Halo, Street Bar and Victoria’s Loft in Low Row, as well as a host of independents at Mackie’s Corner.

Speaking about the first year in business, in which they’ve had to navigate a pandemic, Lee said: “We hit the ground running when we opened in the summer. The first year hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but we’re proud to be a part of the changes happening in the city centre."

Reggie Robinson Forster, two, holding some of the gifts which have been dropped off for other children at his dad's restaurant

Chef Leon Dodd said: “We’re keen to have new restaurants opening up, it’s not competition, it all helps to bring footfall to the city centre.

"Sunderland’s dining scene is really expanding, it’s not completely there just yet, but you can enjoy so much more than just Indian and Italian restaurants now.”

All of the business owners have decades of experience in DJing and running events, so music plays a key role in Proven People with carefully-curated playlists.

Throughout December, the restaurant is running a number of themed music nights, starting with a Britpop Vs Indie night this Saturday, December 4, where you enjoy two hours of unlimited cocktails, three dishes from the small plates menu and indie classics for £29.95.

People can swap presents for pizza

Other themed bottomless supper nights include a disco night on December 3, 90s R’n’B and hip hop night on December 10, a Christmas bottomless supper on December 17 and a bottomless New Year’s Eve disco party, which can all be booked through their social media pages.

:: Proven People is open Tuesday to Saturdays from noon until late and people can bring in presents for pizzas anytime in opening hours.

Read More

Read More
Mackie’s Corner reveals Christmas splendour as Sunderland traders urge people to...

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

The Sunderland Echo has been on Wearside since 1873, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.