Vision to make Sunderland an 'event city' - boosting the economy and providing 'much-needed' fun

Chiefs have revealed ambitions to rebrand Sunderland as an ‘event city’.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 4:28 pm
Fireworks on the opening night of the Sunderland Airshow in 2019. Their are plans to bring even more of a buzz to Sunderland when covid restrictions lift.

Bosses at Sunderland City Council have set out their stall, with millions allocated to cultural projects across Wearside over the coming years.

And they have also hinted attractions may go beyond the usual football and air show offerings usually relied on to draw in visitors.

“Building on previous successes, we want to grow the city’s reputation as an event city,” said Linda Williams, city council cabinet member for Vibrant City.

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“We will announce new and exciting events as soon as we can, providing some much-needed entertainment, activity and fun – can we all remember that?”

Cllr Williams was speaking at a meeting of the full city council, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube to agree the local authority’s budget for 2021/22.

As well as a five per cent council tax rise, the spending plans also include more than £33million for:

:: Digitisation of city library and heritage collections

:: Replacement of Christmas lights

Cllr Williams added she hoped the Culture House, an 80,000 sq ft library she described as a ‘living room in the heart of the city’ part funded by the government’s Future High Streets Fund, will attract 750,000 visitors a year once it is completed in 2023.

However, she also acknowledged the uncertainty around post-pandemic life.

She said: “Naturally there’s some uncertainty around our leisure and cultural offer for the next year, however, we will ensure that our plans reflect the needs and wishes of our residents, businesses and visitors.”

In non-covid times, Sunderland has some of the biggest draws in the North East in terms of events, with the Sunderland Airshow pulling in international crowds.

Sunderland Illuminations and the Festival of Light, the Sunderland City Runs and West End shows at the Sunderland Empire are also popular events in the city’s cultural calendar.

And he Stadium of Light gigs, Summer Streets festival and more recent The Kubix Music Festival at Herrington Country Park are some example of popular music events taking place in Wearside.

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