How this year's positive events have helped put Sunderland on the map
It's hard to believe that most of 2018 is already behind us '“ but for Sunderland BID it has been a year of positive activity and initiatives to well and truly put the city on the map.
One of the biggest successes has undoubtedly been the FanZone and while England may not have brought home the biggest trophy in football, that’s not to say it wasn’t fantastic fun while it lasted.
Fans turned out in their thousands to enjoy the atmosphere around the big screen – and of course to support the national team.
The enthusiasm of the Sunderland supporters wasn’t just felt locally, as the FanZone appeared repeatedly on national television news.
While the dreams of bringing home the World Cup have been shelved, there has certainly still been plenty to be cheerful about across the city.
The BID ran its second clean-up initiative early in the summer, giving a spruce up to some of the more neglected areas of the city.
Litter picking and tidying up flower beds made a real difference, with plans for more Clean Sweep schemes in the future.
With millions of visitors flocking into the city for events such as The Tall Ships Race and the forthcoming Sunderland International Airshow, the BID has really made sure its presence has been felt.
The pop-up city centre has been literally popping up – this time handing out the BID’s very first Little Book of Offers, full of deals and offers to encourage everyone to spend their money in the heart of the city.
Looking back to earlier in the year, Sunderland Restaurant Week has become a firm fixture on the local calendar and was back with a vengeance in March.
Scores of bars, cafes and restaurants took part, welcoming diners from across the region as well as many local people who took the opportunity to sample the city’s vibrant restaurant offering.
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Businesses reported a week of great trading and – equally as importantly – happy customers who pledged to return.
Along with the special events, the last six months has also seen the BID’s Mak’Em Smile initiative boost its numbers.
This scheme, to create a whole host of well informed city ambassadors, has now seen “graduates” who have masses of knowledge at their fingertips which they can share with local people and visitors alike.
The BID has also given its support to city centre events, such as the recently highly successful Sunniside Live festival.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID said it has been a very busy start to the year.
“2018 has seen the BID work on a range of initiatives all geared to helping boost businesses across the city centre,” she said.
“We been particularly lucky this year that Sunderland has been the focus of so much attention because of events like the Tall Ships Race and we still have the Airshow to come.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase how much the city has to offer.
“At the same time events like the World Cup allowed us to give people in the city the opportunity to share the excitement, while boosting trade in bars and restaurants.
“We’re very pleased that – unlike other cities – we were able to fund the FanZone so it was completely free of charge and at the same time we worked closely with the bars who provided a second screen for the quarter final.”
The BID team is now looking to the future and planning for the months ahead.
“We are currently working with the businesses across the city to look at the future priorities for the BID once our renewal process is completed,” said Sharon.
“This is the perfect opportunity to look at what the BID has done and hopefully can do in the future if we get the support we need.”