This week, Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet gave the green light to accept and then award a grant of £70,000 which will help support a range of free events with a health focus.
The cash came from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), with senior councillors agreeing to award the grant to Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID).
According to a report prepared for cabinet, planned events will be “targeted to address some of the health inequalities that exist in Sunderland”.
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The aim of the programme includes “raising confidence levels in a post-pandemic Sunderland by proactively encouraging participants from the most deprived areas to get involved.”
A key focus of the events programme would be improved health and wellbeing and education on healthy eating options and exercise.
Some events highlighted in the cabinet report include a roller rink being located in Keel Square from July 22 to September 4, as well as street games, music, performance, craft and physical exercise activities.
Other planned outdoor activities include an outdoor cinema, arts and crafts workshops, walking and discovery trails, healthy eating food demonstrations / workshops and a community art project.
Councillor Paul Stewart, cabinet secretary for Sunderland City Council, introduced a report on the grant funding award at Thursday’s (July 14) cabinet meeting at City Hall.
While welcoming the funding, some members of the cabinet raised questions about how the events would be promoted to ensure all communities across Sunderland are involved.
Council officers, responding, confirmed the events programme would be backed up by a communications strategy to make people aware of events.
A report to cabinet added that rejecting the grant funding offer from NHS Sunderland CCG would result in the “loss of the opportunity to promote health improvement and mental wellbeing”.
The report adds: “Given the intention to utilise the funding to deliver a range of city centre public events as devised by Sunderland BID, they are the most appropriate recipient of the funding [in] order to deliver the resulting public benefits.”