Sunderland is up for international challenge

Sunderland Civic Centre
Sunderland Civic Centre
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AN international challenge will help raise the profile of Wearside say council bosses.

Sunderland is one of 22 UK, and 155 European, cities who have entered the Mayors Challenge, a competition recently launched by Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York.

The challenge is designed to inspire European cities to generate innovative ideas which solve major challenges and improve urban life, and $9million in funding is up for grabs.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The council has a strong track record of award successes from lottery funding, infrastructure projects, to competitions like Britain or Northumbria in Bloom, and peer recognition in 2012 when the Municipal Journal highlighted us as the Most Improving Council.

“Awards can have many benefits from helping capital and spending projects that improve our infrastructure or built environment to raising our profile regionally, nationally and internationally. Raising Sunderland’s profile on different stages brings further success as we showcase ourselves to others.

“Our submission to the Mayors Challenge outlines our new and innovative ways and means of helping older people enjoy more support and independence. These are building on already successful technologies such as our Telecare system that supports the individual in their home and is tailored to meet their needs.

“The Bloomberg competition is very high profile and we know we will face stiff competition from Europe’s most innovative cities and, as ever, we are up for the challenge.”

A selection process is now under way to find the 20 finalists.

Modelled on a successful competition in the United States, the Mayors Challenge will award $5million for the grand prize winner and $1million for four additional cities that come up with the most creative and transferable ideas.

Mr Bloomberg, said: “The response to the Mayors Challenge across Europe has exceeded even our own high expectations. These dynamic city leaders are working to find new ways to tackle some of our most pressing and common urban challenges from youth unemployment to obesity to civic participation. The selection committee will have a very difficult time narrowing this strong set of proposals down to 20 finalists.”

The finalist cities will be announced later in the spring.

and in April a team from each will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp in Brussels, where they will work with experts to finalise their proposals and the winners will be announced in the autumn.