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New website will give residents all they need to know about living in Sunderland

From left: Gabrielle Campbell, Lesley Baxter, Coun Louise Farthing, Coun Geoffrey Walker  and John Walls.
From left: Gabrielle Campbell, Lesley Baxter, Coun Louise Farthing, Coun Geoffrey Walker and John Walls.

A new community website has been launched in Sunderland so residents have a wealth of information at their fingertips.

The interactive community website, www.sunderlandinformationpoint.co.uk, will provide a wealth of useful information on the services available within the city and each local community to meet families' adult social care, childcare and supported education needs.

The website is designed to help people live independently in their own homes for longer, and provide parents/carers with help and advice they need on schools, childminders and the support available for families and children with special education needs and disabilities.

Formerly known as the Sunderland Community Hub, the new website is supported by Sunderland City Council and Together for Children and has been improved with the help of feedback from those providing and using the services.

It is now easier to use and can be accessed on smartphones and i-Pads, provides instant access to information and advice about services, resources and activities available within the city and local communities.

It is split into three main categories:

*Adults - which has information on the range of housing options for older people, support for carers, help with managing money as well as a variety of other advice to help people maximise their independence, health and wellbeing.

*Families - which has information on all Sunderland schools and registered childcare including childminders, school nurseries and private and voluntary sector day-care settings.

*Support for children with special educational needs - which has information, advice, guidance, services, events and activities for children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families aged 0-25.

Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Skills, Coun Louise Farthing, said: "The website has been created to provide everybody with a one-stop guide to the services available across our city for the parents/carers of children with disabilities or special educational needs.

"It includes information for families on the range of help, care and support available for all young people, and details of leisure and education activities."

Many of the services listed in the website are provided in partnership with the city’s voluntary sector, including Springboard Sunderland.

Springboard’s Digital Inclusion Officer, John Walls said: "We want to make information more accessible and more appropriate to people's specific needs, so the layout and the three categories are designed to cover as wide a range of services as possible.

"It's also been taken into account that many of us still lack confidence and awareness of how to use our mobile technology to its full extent, so we and other voluntary groups,are holding regular workshops to help people develop those skills while there are also on-line ' how to guides' available on the new website."

Sunderland Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Coun Dr Geoffrey Walker, said: "Creating this website is only the first step in helping people to use technology to increase independence in many aspects of their care and everyday lives.

"The type of mobile devices many of us now take for granted such as smart phones and i-Pads, play an increasing part in people’s lives and if used effectively, can help create and maintain a sense of personal independence.

"We want to increase people’s confidence and ability to use technology by providing them with the knowledge of products available, and the ones appropriate and affordable to their individual needs."