Sunderland BID calls in high street experts to support city's independent retailers

High street experts have been brought into Sunderland in a bid to secure a vibrant future for the city centre.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 12:37 pm
Updated Friday, 16th August 2019, 3:02 pm
Sunderland Bid's Sharon Appleby and Save The High Street's Sarah Bassett.

Save The High Street, a national organisation which works across the UK to create strategies to help city and town centres thrive, has been brought in by Sunderland’s BID to help drive its plans.

And experts from the organisation say the key to success is through the city’s independent retailers which will help Sunderland to ‘weather the storm caused by online shopping.’

Sarah Bassett from Save The High Street said: “Sunderland really is unique.

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“I have never been to a city with such a strong, independent business community. It is really refreshing.

“One of the challenges we often face is that independent businesses don’t realise the value of working together, but that’s absolutely not the case in Sunderland.”

Save The High Street will initially be working with the BID on a three-month project where it will work to establish an independent district in the city.

The organisation is looking at marketing initiatives to give Sunderland a point of difference and has already met with a number of key businesses.

It has also been giving free marketing advice and support to retailers.

Sarah continued: “We are already really excited about what we’ve seen in Sunderland.

“Our plan is to showcase what is unique about Sunderland – that it has a personality all of its own – which is unique in the north.

“And what is key to all of this is people agreeing – and wanting – to work together.”

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, said: “Save The High Street is working closely with us to provide support to help build a strong independent sector in the city centre.

“They have already met with a number of businesses and had a really positive response and will be visiting on a regular basis to help develop individual marketing strategies and an independent strategy.

“They have done great work in other places across the UK and we are sure they will do the same here, working with the BID and the city council.”