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Sunderland City Council join residents and partners to support local projects during Covid-19 pandemic

Crowdfunding

Sunderland City Council and its Public Health Team have joined forces with the Clinical Commissioning Group to pledge £150,000 to projects created by members of the community. Some projects are directly related to helping the city come through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crowdfund Sunderland, which was launched in January 2020, allows residents to create projects that contribute to their city through pledges raised. These pledges can either be provided by residents in their local area, or organisations who are willing to back the ideas.

The first major project that was crowdfunded for Sunderland was the creation of the Jack Crawford memorial in Mowbray Park in 1900. The people of Sunderland created pledges to honour the bravery shown when he climbed the mast of the HMS Venerable, during the Battle of Camperdown, to nail the British flag back up. Using the money raised they created the statue which still stands today. Other examples of crowdfunding include the Statue of Liberty in New York, which was funded by public subscription.

Since launching, several projects have received support across different communities in Sunderland. They are assessed by Sunderland City Council, before commencing fundraising, to ensure the projects are viable and deliverable. These projects all work to support delivery of the City Plan, Neighbourhood Investment Plans, improve health and wellbeing and community resilience.

Once projects have received pledges, they then have the opportunity to receive match funding from Sunderland City Council, Public Health and the NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group. These partners agreed to match-fund projects which meet their criteria and support the delivery of the City Plan. This collaboration provides a total match fund of £150,000, with each partner contributing £50,000.

Several projects have recently been awarded these grants. After a scrutiny and approval process including all of the partners, the projects have received £63,100 in matched-funding.
One organisation to have been allocated funding is the Friends of Doxford Park, who want to renovate their Walled Garden to include a sensory garden and smoother, wider pathways so they are fully accessible for everyone.

Another project that has had their funding matched is Springboard, who hope to use their money to create a community and learning café based at Hetton Lyons Country Park. This project will offer training and employment opportunities for those with special educational needs.

Some organisations have also used this platform to help the community throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, such as Active Families CIC using the money to provide weekly activity packs, so families can stay healthy and active at home. More than Grandparents are also using this opportunity to deliver food and essentials to homes, as well as providing emotional support to those who may need it through isolation.

Councillor Dr Geoffrey Walker, Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care at Sunderland City Council said: "It is very important that public health supports projects in the community such as these. Every one of these projects will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people in Sunderland and will help reduce health inequalities. It is vital that we do what we can to help everyone look after not only their physical health, but also their mental health and wellbeing."

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: "We are so proud to be able to support projects that have been created by residents. Crowdfund Sunderland is a brilliant scheme that allows us to know what the real issues are in our communities, and what our residents want to change through genuine community support.

"Following the launch of Crowdfund Sunderland, no one could have anticipated the crisis which we are now facing through Covid-19. It is vitally important, during these times that we continue to support our communities, particularly with fundraising."

David Chandler, Deputy Chief Officer and Chief Finance Officer from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We are delighted to work in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Public Health to support the Crowdfunding scheme. It provides an innovative way to reach out and support projects that promote the health and wellbeing of our patients and residents which is so important, now more than ever.

"Covid-19 has brought significant challenges to us all and, providing support to our communities, through fundraising initiatives like this plays an important part in ensuring we meet those challenges."

Find out more about Crowdfund Sunderland and how you can get involved at www.spacehive.com/movement/crowdfundsunderland 

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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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