£3.3m awarded to projects across Sunderland

Nine projects in Sunderland have been backed with more than £3.3m of funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programme.

The funding has been allocated as part of the city’s ‘Communities and Place’ priority in the UKSPF which replaces European grants after the UK’s exit from the EU. Over the next two years, Sunderland has a UKSPF allocation of £14m to invest in projects that are aligned to and build on the City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland.

The first nine projects receiving grants include activities to improve access to and participation in creative and cultural opportunities, to strengthen voluntary and community sector facilities and services, to invest in new creative business spaces, and to create a network of community digital health hubs across the city.

Among the projects receiving funding are a £175,000 grant to help with the refurbishment and re-opening of the historic Norfolk Hotel in Sunniside as a new base for creative and cultural businesses and organisations, support for community facilities at St George’s Church in Fatfield, Washington, and cost of living support in West Sunderland.

A new round of UKSPF applications is now open under the ‘Supporting Local Business’ priority and closes on Friday 14 July. It invites organisations and partnerships to work together on developing and delivering business support activities that will boost enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation, and support enterprises to transition towards a net-zero low carbon economy.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “The UK Shared Prosperity Fund supports our ambitious City Plan for making Sunderland more dynamic, healthy and vibrant, and how we become a more connected, international city with opportunities for all.

“These first allocations will unlock more new jobs and investment in the local economy, providing residents and community groups and businesses with access to a range of new services, opportunities and facilities. Hundreds of millions of pounds of private and public sector investment is coming into Sunderland and these projects share and demonstrate our ambitions for a more prosperous and resilient city.”

Other priorities for UKSPF investment in Sunderland will focus on activities to support residents who are economically inactive and help them to develop new skills, and access training and employment opportunities.

Ken Bremner, chair of the Sunderland City Board, said: “It is fantastic news that such a wide variety of projects have been supported following this first round of UKSPF funding. Successful projects have shown how they plan to work collaboratively to achieve the objectives of Sunderland’s UKSPF investment plan as well as the longer-term ambitions of the City Plan.

“These projects involve multiple partners and complement the ongoing regeneration of the city, by investing in new community-based provision, social prescribing activities and digital connectivity, and enhancing the creative and cultural offer in the city. The Sunderland City Board looks forward to seeing the projects being delivered over the next two years.”

Mark said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to have received a UKSPF award for capital improvement works to the phase one refurbishment of the former Norfolk Hotel.

“The funding will give us the means to create further enhancements to our accessibility plans across the ground floor and community activity areas, and will facilitate us in being able to create outdoor engagement and garden areas, as well as supporting us to make a number of further improvements to our refurbishment plans.”

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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