Life is what you make it - and so is your city

In a world where most of us are grasping for anything to look forward to, it was heartening to read an Echo article about ongoing developments in Sunderland.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 11:34 am

Before we continue, it is obligatory to point out that there remains a mountain of potential improvements to be made. Holmeside remains an issue, as do Hylton Dene, libraries, abandoned business premises, potholes…

However, we have to start somewhere. Not before time, Sunderland might finally have a railway station that is not, frankly, embarrassing. The existing civic centre is to undergo “timely disposal.” Good.

The article referred to was concerned with enterprises such as the new Auditorium, Mackie’s Corner, the Wear Commissioners building and more.

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Let's hope the Auditorium is one of many big new success stories for Sunderland. Picture by Stu Norton.

The elders of the ever-thriving Tedious Whinging Community will be quick to point out everything should have been done better / sooner / cheaper / not at all.

We should also remember that however money is spent, particularly public money, it’s being spent wrongly.

So what can we do to help ourselves? Well no council, business or scheme is above criticism. But there is an oceanic difference between constructive and well-intended criticism, which is welcome and useful, and facile abuse on social media, which isn’t.

Second, we can make sure we use the Auditorium etc. Let’s not get five years down the line and say: “You know, I’ve never been in there.”

We can also use the eateries, bars and, above all, shops on our doorsteps. Up goes the cry “We need better shops.”

It’s somewhat Catch-22, but Harrods aren’t likely to open a Wearside branch if the city centre is deserted. Furthermore, current shops can’t improve if they’re barely breaking even now.

The Uncle Toms who shop in other cities are a major cause of the problems in Sunderland that they themselves are forever complaining about. Invest in your own city and therefore yourself.

Of course, of further benefit would be if certain citizens could refrain from vandalism and distributing litter; crimes for which there is zero excuse, particularly among vandals and litter-droppers who also bleat about how shabby the place is.

Life is what you make it; and so is Sunderland. Let’s get behind it.

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