Sunderland’s very own Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke has spoken of her pride at seeing how community projects in her home city have been given a boost thanks to Lottery funding.
The National Lottery is launching an online mini-series Untold Stories: Sunderland, which lifts the lid on how National Lottery is helping the people of Wearside.
As part of the series Katie and co-presenter Josh Wilkinson, from Barnes, have visited the Foundation of Light’s Beacon of Light facility, arts programme The Cultural Spring, children’s charity Grace House and revamped performing arts hub The Fire Station.
In 2017 the National Lottery invested more than £15million into good causes in the Sunderland area, helping to enrich and impact upon thousands of lives.
Entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast Katie, who appeared in the 2014 series of The Apprentice, told the Echo: “I pride myself on knowing things about the area and I like to think I have a good knowledge of what’s going on.
“But to be honest I had no idea how many things in Sunderland are funded by the Lottery.
“From the four projects we’ve visited, I wouldn’t be able to pick out one, but community is at the heart of everything.
“These projects don’t just help one demographic, they are helping everyone.”
Among those Katie and Josh talk to in the series are Richard McDonald, who overcame anxiety and built up his confidence by volunteering as a sports assistant at the Beacon of Light, Jo Howell, an artist whose creative ambitions have been realised through the Cultural Spring, young children attending workshops at The Fire Station and Liz Cairns, a therapist at Grace House who discussed how having a sibling with disabilities had a ripple effect on her entire family.
“The people we spoke to said they were just really thankful for the projects themselves and the fact that they were able to be involved with them,” added Katie.
“For example Grace House helps families engage with other families, the Beacon of Light is all about getting people more active.
“Everywhere we went we were just really impressed by what the projects are doing for people.
“There were so many success stories.”
Untold Stories: Sunderland launches online today across the National Lottery’s social media channels.