Game on for new scheme to transform empty Sunderland shops

An empty city centre shop is to get a new look next week.

Friday, 13th May 2016, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 13th May 2016, 3:41 pm
Kirsty Currie, Sunderland bid executive assistant, outside the empty Game store in High Street West

Sunderland Bid has launched a pilot Vacant Property Visual Improvement scheme to transform run-down properties in the city centre.

The Bid has joined forces with Sunderland College and Gentoo to pioneer the scheme, which will see ten students on the college’s painting and decorating course get the chance to gain some valuable 'on the job' experience.

Gentoo is providing resources and access to an experienced supervisor to work with the students on the former Game store in High Street West.

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"This is a great opportunity to improve the look of some of the city centre premises as part of a partnership from which everyone benefits," said Bid chief executive Ken Dunbar.

"The college students get real experience of working in a commercial environment and we are able to help improve the look of an empty building to make it more commercially viable and hopefully benefit the whole area.”

The Game store has been vacant for around a year and if the pilot initiative is successful, it will be considered for other vacant properties in need of a facelift across the city.

Iain Nixon, Executive Director of Commercial Activity at Sunderland College said the students were delighted to be taking part.

"We didn't hesitate to get involved in the Bid's vacant property project," he said.

"This is a great opportunity for our students to gain valuable work experience outside of the classroom, which will enhance their learning.

"It is fantastic that our students will be part of a project dedicated to the regeneration of the city centre in the run-up to the opening of our City Campus in September."

Ian Porter, Executive Director of Asset & Investment, Gentoo, added: "We are delighted to be part of a partnership that will bring benefits to our city centre.

"Gentoo is committed to providing new learning opportunities for people and this is a great way for our experienced staff to pass on knowledge and share skills."