Businesses encouraged to bid for council event contracts

All business opportunities for The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018, Sunderland International Airshow and Sunderland Illuminations will be advertised via the NEPO Portal which is an e-tendering system that allows organisations to compete for work. An organisation must be registered on the portal to view forthcoming tender opportunities. If you wish to be considered please register at: Supporting information can also be accessed at:

In addition exciting sponsorship packages relating to all three Sunderland City Council signature events will be revealed over the coming weeks.  The packages will offer businesses unique opportunities to benefit from brand association with high profile events to an avid audience in their hundreds of thousands. Follow the Tall Ships Project Office on Facebook at TallShipsRacesSunderland and Twitter @TallShipsSund for updates.

If you have any further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact:

Sunderland Airshow 2017/18 – Laura Young,

Sunderland Illuminations 2017/18 –Michelle Whittle,

The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 – Ian Flannery,

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council's Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: "The council is very keen to build on its mutually beneficial relationships with existing contractors, and to encourage new contractors to do business with us.

"We are particularly keen to support businesses from the city and neighbouring areas to submit tenders for council contracts. I would urge local suppliers to come along to the event to learn more about what is coming up and to take advantage of the opportunities available."

Sunderland City Council - Signature events overview

The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018

The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 will be a safe, spectacular, four day event that showcases Sunderland as a welcoming, forward-looking, innovative place and enhances our reputation as an ‘Events City’ on an international stage. The event will celebrate our maritime heritage and will invigorate our cultural offer, creating a legacy for all to enjoy.

For the first time in its history, Sunderland is set to welcome the world famous Tall Ships Races in the summer of 2018 (July 11-14). The city has the honour of being the start host port for the race series, welcoming around 80 vessels, 3,000 international crew members and with spectator numbers expected to reach 1.5 million across the course of the four day event. The positive economic benefit is expected to be between £21 and £28 million and will attract international media interest. There will be numerous opportunities for businesses to benefit from involvement in the event including a vast range of infrastructure requirements, catering and hospitality provision, merchandise and photography. Sponsorship packages and hospitality experiences may be of particular interest too.  

For more information about The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 please contact Charlotte Thew at or call 07887 794 192

Sunderland Illuminations

Sunderland Illuminations are a historic attraction dating back to the 1930’s that returned to Sunderland’s seafront in 2012. The event is hugely popular and well attended, stretching over four weeks and with visitor numbers of over 210,000 recorded in 2016, making it Sunderland’s second largest visitor event after the Sunderland International Airshow.

The event incorporates festoon lighting along the seafront with a concentration of specific lighting features and activity at the Roker Park site. Introduced in 2015 an illuminated big wheel added to the attractions at the event along with additional fairground rides and catering outlets at Cliff Park and Ocean Park sites. In 2016 the lighting along the seafront was extended to St Peters Church, thus continually increasing the overall event site and enhancing the offer to event visitors and traders alike.

Market research during the 2016 Sunderland Illuminations indicated an average spend of £9.25 per visitor with total spending during the event estimated at £1.96m. Services required for this event include stewarding, marquees, barriers, staging, fireworks and catering stands to name a few.

For more information about Sunderland Illuminations please contact Michelle Whittle at or call 0191 561 8433

Sunderland International Airshow

Sunderland International Airshow is the city’s largest annual event, held across a vast event site that incorporates both the Roker and Seaburn coastal resorts. The event is now in its 29th year and takes place in July, incorporating a Friday evening launch night followed by two full days of programmed activity both on the ground and in the air.

Live musical entertainment, flight displays and a firework finale are included in the launch evening programme. The subsequent Saturday and Sunday deliver a packed programme of activity on the ground over an event site of 1.5 miles. Attractions include military exhibitions, trade stands, an extensive array of catering concessions and fairground attractions. Coupled with a full flight programme of exhilarating displays by both military and civilian aircraft, visitors are kept well entertained.

The event is guaranteed to draw visitor numbers of between 800,000-1million across three days, making it one of the largest annual events in the region. The projected positive annual economic impact to the city is £12m-£14m. Services for this event include park and ride bus services, temporary lighting, advertising, event evaluation and audio visual systems.

FEB 2017

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Sunderland's Friendship Agreement with Washington DC makes us the only city in Europe to enjoy such a relationship with the world's most powerful city. Washington Old Hall is home to the direct ancestors of the first president of the United States of America.


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