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Approved UKSPF Projects in Sunderland




Sunderland UKSPF Approved Projects

Sunderland's UKSPF Programme has awarded over £13 million to 27 projects across the city to date. The full list of successful bids so far can be found below.

Investment Priority 1: Communities and Place
Project NameApplicant / Delivery Partners

Community Digital Health Hub Project

Sunderland City Council on behalf of health, VCS and multiple local partners

Connecting and Catalysing Our Culture, Creativity and Engagement

Sunderland City Council, Sunderland Culture, The Cultural Spring, MBC Arts Wellbeing

Enhancing the development of the former Norfolk Hotel

Marengo Estates Limited

STEF's Community Hub

Sunderland Training & Education Farm Ltd (STEFs)

St George's Church Community Annexe and Café

St George's Church, Fatfield

Sunderland Museum and Park Community Garden

Sunderland City Council, OASES (Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists)

Sunniside Animation and Activation

Sunderland Business Improvement District

Strengthening Communities

Sunderland Voluntary Sector Alliance

Cost of Living Support in St Chads, Silksworth and Barnes

Youth Almighty Project

The Pavilion

Pallion Action Group

Co-Creating Access to Creativity

Theatre Space North East

Sunderland North Youth & Community Choices

Sunderland Community Action Group
Investment Priority 2: Supporting Local Business
Project NameApplicant / Delivery Partners

Business Intellectual Property Centre and City Life

Business & IP Centre North East (BIPC)

Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland (BREEZ)

Sunderland City Council

Regional Business Growth Fund

UMi Commercial Ltd

Enterprising Sunderland

North East Business & Innovation Centre, Back on the Map, Sunderland BME Network, Transmit/ Smarta, University of Sunderland, Princes Trust, SB International Centre, Sunderland City Council

Esports Business Cluster

British Esports Federation, Sunderland Software City

Local Automotive Business Support - Sunderland (LABS-S)

North East Automotive Alliance

North East Screen Industries Programme (NESIP)

North East Screen

Sunderland Innovate and Grow (SIG)

University of Sunderland, Sunderland Culture

Wear Together Initiative

North East Business & Innovation Centre

Sunderland Business Support Fund

Northumberland Business Services Limited

Supply Chain Sunderland

RTC North

Expo Sunderland

Siglion Developments LLP, Innovation SuperNetwork, Sunderland City Council
Investment Priority 3: People & Skills: Support for residents who are economically inactive and seeking work
Project NameApplicant / Delivery Partners
Wise Group Relational Mentoring (Sunderland)

The Wise Group, Pallion Action Group, Springboard Sunderland Trust, Humankind, Foundation of Light

Investment Priority 4: People & Skills: Improving skills to progress in work and responding to local skills needs
Project NameApplicant / Delivery Partners
Sunderland Skills & Inclusion ProgrammeUniversity of Sunderland, Access Training Ltd, British ESports Federation, Media Savvy CIC, MTC Training, NBSL, SETA, Sunderland College, Sunderland Software City, TDR Training, Training in Care Ltd, Uplift Training
Training for GrowthNorth East Automotive Alliance, Education Partnership North East


Communities & Place:


Project Name: Community Digital Health Hub Project

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland City Council

Delivery Partners: Gentoo, Sunderland VSA, All Together Better Health Alliance, Integrated Cate Partnership for Sunderland, University of Sunderland, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Together for Children, British Esports

Stage One: Invest in community-owned buildings, which are freely accessed by the community, by enhancing the digital infrastructure to provide digital coverage appropriate to run a number of online activities simultaneously in the building, or surrounding grounds for up to 30 people, using different devices. All training courses will be free of charge to residents. The work will provide the necessary underpinning infrastructure for stage 2 of the project and will be carried out by the City Council's Smart City Joint Venture. In addition, the Council's sensor network will be able to monitor usage and the health and integrity of the community buildings.

Stage Two: Bringing together a team of multi-agency specialists, across the Sunderland Voluntary and Community Sector, supported through the project's delivery partners (Sunderland City Council, Integrated Care Board, GP Alliance, Sunderland Health Trust and University of Sunderland.) to co-ordinate a weekly timetable of social prescribing activities, delivered city-wide within communities throughout 2024, based on evidence of need in the local areas, to proactively deliver health and wellbeing services, digital solutions and initiatives, to ensure no one, and no place within Sunderland is left behind.


Nicol McConnell (Stage One):

Tammy Smith (Stage Two):



Project Name: Connecting & Catalysing Our Culture, Creativity & Engagement

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland City Council

Delivery Partners: Sunderland Culture, The Cultural Spring, MBC Arts Wellbeing

This cross-sector partnership project will deliver critical investment into the city's cultural, heritage and creative organisations to maximise the impact of transformational investment in culture led regeneration, enable an excellent city-wide offer, and grow participation in local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities opening up opportunities across all of our communities.  Over a period of two years, the partners will deliver a high-quality programme enhancing the cultural offer within the city and its accessibility, increasing engagement and participation levels across the city, opening up cultural and heritage volunteering opportunities, bringing together heritage partners and driving visitors to maximise economic impact.

Contact: Leanne Littlewood

Email address:



Project Name: Enhancing the development of the former Norfolk Hotel

Delivery Organisation: Marengo Estates Limited

Capital investment grant to create a glass-fronted accessible Culture Row, accessible outdoor activation and engagement areas, to commission and develop planning approval for remodelling of building frontage, and to install full disabled access across the ground floor South East wing and central activation area at the former Norfolk Hotel, Sunniside. Capital investment will also support minor reconfigurations to first floor layout and essential repairs to the building, including to roof, guttering and cleaning of external brickwork and installation of new electrics and energy efficient heating and lighting systems.

Contact: Mark Burns-Cassell

Email address:



Project Name: STEFs Community Hub

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland Training & Education Farm Ltd (STEFs)

Sunderland Training & Education Farm Ltd were approved for UKSPF funding to develop a hub to consult and deliver a programme of activities, opportunities and events chosen by local residents meeting their needs and making improvements to their neighbourhood.  The activities, opportunities and events will promote engagement, cohesion, signposting for benefits, financial, housing and job search support, positive mental health, the outdoors, exercise and developing of new skills and confidence.

Contact: Jeanette Chapman

Email address:



Project Name: St George's Church Community Annexe & Café

Delivery Organisation: St George's Church, Fatfield

After 7 years in the planning and an incredible job fundraising, St George's Church in Washington are creating a new community hub with community café, rooms and facilities to bless and serve the local people. If everything goes to plan, the new facility will be finished in May of 2024 and, thanks to funding from UKSPF, once we find the right person to join us as a café manager, the community café will be launched later in the summer. You can follow the progress on our facebook page or for more details, please check out the webpage below.

Contact: Nick Barr-Hamilton

Email address:



Project Name: Sunderland Museum and Park Community Garden

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland City Council

Delivery Partners: OASES (Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists)

Funding of £180,103 from the UK Shared Property Fund has been allocated towards developing a community garden next to the Museum and Winter Gardens, working with the Friends of Mowbray Park to help create a greater sense of place, pride and ownership. This funding has been allocated as part of Sunderland's 'Communities and Place' investment priority, the objectives of which are:

  1. City Centre and Town Centre vibrancy improvements and investment in Arts, Culture, Heritage and Creative Industries.
  2. Building Voluntary and Community Sector capacity and capabilities to tackle health inequalities and to address anti-social behaviour and crime, including support to young people and other hard to reach groups.
  3. Delivering a smart city for all and supporting climate change initiatives in communities.
  4. Responding to the cost-of-living crisis.

The funding will contribute to a part-time post of Community Garden Engagement Officer to work with volunteers, and will benefit 'Deprived communities and places, supporting residents, households, businesses, and VCSE organisations to capitalise on local economic opportunities and address challenges, strengthening communities and building prosperity and pride in place.'

The project will involve working with OASES - Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists and plans are now underway to install the required infrastructure to help develop the community garden.  The project will run until March 2025.

Contact: Trina Murphy

Email address:



Project Name: Sunniside Animation and Activation

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland Business Improvement District

A 24-month programme of animation and activation activities that will drive footfall, encourage dwell time and spend and will showcase the area in the best light. The majority of the events will be free at the point of access, thus addressing some cost-of-living challenges but also encouraging the widest possible engagement with communities.  The project will also support improvements in the attractiveness of the area with the addition of festoon lighting to both West Sunniside and Norfolk Street and lighting of some of the trees in Sunniside Gardens. These will create a more attractive canvas for events.

Contact: Kirsty Currie

Email address:




Project Name: Strengthening Communities

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland Voluntary Sector Alliance

Sunderland Voluntary Sector Alliance (SVSA) was awarded UKSPF funding to strengthen and further develop the voluntary and community sector in Sunderland. Creating ambition, energy and drive to support communities to bring about social change, grow community wealth and create resilience. The two-year project focuses on development work, funding, investment and volunteer recruitment and retention. The service will be complemented by a range of training and networking events for Sunderland VCSE across the city. The support offer includes:

  • Funding, advice and guidance
  • Business and Finance Planning
  • Support with volunteers
  • Governance, Legal Structures and Management Committees
  • Support to grow your service
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Support to network/collaborate
  • Upskilling you, your team and your volunteers

Contact: Tracy Hassan

Email address:




Project Name: Cost of Living Support in St Chad's, Silksworth and Barnes

Delivery Organisation: Youth Almighty Project

To  provide a targeted program which will support residents in the Silksworth, Barnes and St. Chads wards of Sunderland West to address the cost-of-living crisis.

Contact: Joanne Laverick / Sophie Clinton  

Email address: /



Project Name: The Pavilion

Delivery Organisation: Pallion Action Group

Pallion Action Group were approved for UKSPF funding to work in partnership with Connor Brown Trust to renovate a disused bowling pavilion in King George V Playing Fields, which has been a magnet for antisocial behaviour. The capital money will be used to create a vibrant community also targeting young people engaging in risky behaviour, projects and services for the wider community to help with cost of living crisis, improving digital inclusion and inspiring the community to lead healthy, vibrant and dynamic lives.

Contact: Karen Noble

Email address:



Project Name: Co-Creating Access to Creativity

Delivery Organisation: Theatre Space North East

Theatre Space North East will bring together communities and community lead organisations, from across the city, to create new community lead theatre and arts projects. These projects will explore themes and issues that are important to the participants in order to grow participation in local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities. This will encourage participants to further explore, and make use of the wider opening up of access to the arts across all of our communities. The grant will also help to develop a draft business plan exploring possibilities for future provision in Sunderland and expanding community engagement.

Contact: Corinne Kilvington

Email address:



Project name: Sunderland North Youth & Community Choices (SNYCC)

Project Lead: Sunderland Community Action Group

Project Partners: Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project, Northeast Sports and Community Opportunities.

Sunderland North Youth & Community Choices is a 1-year pilot project aimed at strengthening current Youth provision across the North of the City.  With a shared focus, adopting the same systems and values, we aim to have a universal structured service that meets local need.  Participants will gain information, appropriate support and an understanding needs-based assistance from a team of dedicated Youth Workers.  Young people will access a wide range of enrichment activities, while being encouraged and supported along their journey into adulthood. 

Across the North, partners currently deliver a wide range of youth provision.  Providing safe and nurturing spaces that promote, personal & social development, social inclusion, community cohesion and growth for positive change.

Final outcomes from the pilot will be shared with youth work projects across the city to enhance and support Sunderland City's universal Youth offer.

Contact Details:

Richy Duggan -

Jude Britton -



Supporting Local Business:


Project Name: BIPC Local Provision

Delivery Organisation: Business & IP Centre North East (BIPC)

Our project aims to support the creation and growth of micro, small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprises and not-for profit organisations within Sunderland.

Business & IP Centre North East will continue to deliver free to access support to businesses, pre-starts and not-for-profit organisations via the 'BIPC Locals' situated at Sunderland Software Centre and Hope Street Xchange Services include 1:1 advice from BIPC's 40+ Experts in Residence, access to market intelligence & business information databases, Intellectual Property support, and a bespoke programme of practical events and topical workshops. The BIPC team also deliver 1:1 Intellectual Property appointments on the 1st & 3rd Friday of every month at the North East Business & Innovation Centre.

As part of this project, BIPC North East's Experts in Residence will be supporting eligible Sunderland SME's through the Citylife Business Support Programme, which includes providing a grant to SMEs enabling them to access an additional 12 hours of fully funded support from any one (or divided between two) of our Experts in Residence to help create and safeguard jobs as well as support with an important piece of work or a priority project. The support would be delivered via a grant direct to the SMEs, enabling them to access Citylife Expert support.

Contact: Sarah Turnbull

Telephone: 07971036494

Email address:




Project Name: Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Scheme (BREEZ)

Delivery Organisation: Sunderland City Council

The UKSPF project will deliver a tailored energy efficiency grant support programme for an initial target of 67 enterprises/community groups in the Sunderland area by February 2025, achieving 500 tonnes of greenhouse gas savings (GHG). The grant scheme will offer grants at a 50% intervention rate (total project grant budget £500,000).  The grant will contribute towards the cost of installing improvements which deliver energy and carbon savings to eligible enterprises (such as lighting & heating improvements, more efficient plant & equipment, renewable energy technologies and improvements to the building fabric).

In partnership with Sunderland City Council's Business Investment Team (BIT), BREEZ will provide ongoing energy advice and non-financial support to an additional 70 enterprises and VCS organisations across Sunderland, available to all beneficiaries through the dedicated BREEZ website with a range of online resources, workshops, training, guidance and peer network opportunities

Contact: Graeme Stephenson

Email address:

Weblink: BREEZ - Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland - Sunderland City Council



Project Name: Regional Business Growth Fund

Delivery Organisation: UMi Commercial Ltd

The Business Growth Fund is a £3.5m programme of investment funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund that supports Business growth across the areas of Sunderland City Council, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council and the North Of Tyne Combined Authority.

​The primary aim of the fund is to create employment and stimulate business growth. It will foster innovative processes to drive productivity, resulting in increased profitability, wage growth and employment growth in businesses, strengthening our economy and creating better jobs.

​The Fund will attract £11.5m of private sector investment and aim to create a minimum of 268 new jobs in the areas.

Telephone: 0191 716 1007

Email address:




Project Name: Enterprising Sunderland

Delivery Organisation: North East Business & Innovation Centre

Delivery Partners: Back on the Map, Sunderland BME Network, Transmit/Smarta, University of Sunderland, Princes Trust, SB International Centre, Sunderland City Council

Enterprising Sunderland is a project designed to unlock the potential of future entrepreneurs within our communities and to support businesses from all sectors to grow and innovate.

Starting a Business: Delivered by a consortium of partners working together to inspire residents to consider self-employment and provide opportunities for everyone to access free 1:1 tailored advice, workshops and online resources.

Growth Lab Sunderland: a series of monthly events where local business owners share insights on how they overcame the common challenges of growing a business. Participants also benefit from practical expertise to design a bespoke innovation and growth roadmap.  

Business Growth through Innovation

Innovation grant support for businesses who want grow by developing a product, process or service new to the business or new to the market.  Open to businesses, with less than 250 employees, based in commercial premises in Sunderland local authority area.

Contact: Kelly Marshall

Email address:




Project Name: Esports Business Cluster

Delivery Organisation: British Esports Federation

Delivery Partners: Sunderland Software City

The Esports Business Cluster (the first and only in the UK) aims to create and support businesses already actively working or seeking to work within the esports sector.

The project will be delivered from our NEPC campus at The Place in the centre of Sunderland in partnership with partners from Sunderland Software City (SSC) who will bring their expertise to deliver the incubator/accelerator activity.

There will be a number of specific interventions to support entrepreneurs and SMEs including, a business accelerator, workshops to help businesses from across the north east engage/develop new business opportunities within the sector and networking events allowing local SMEs to connect with esports businesses, partners and investors.

Contact: Gary Tibbett

Email address:



Project Name: Local Automotive Business Support - Sunderland (LABS-S)

Delivery Organisation: North East Automotive Alliance

Local Automotive Business Support - Sunderland (LABS-S) is a tailored package of support for Sunderland businesses wanting to grow and thrive within the automotive sector.

The LABS-S project is delivered by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) who have a proven track record in delivering business support programmes to the automotive sector. LABS-S, which will run until March 2025, will facilitate the collective needs of the automotive supply chain and support some of the key deliverables of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to stimulate economic development in Sunderland.

What are the opportunities?

LABS-S is delivered by an experienced team of industry specialists who can provide the tools and specialist support to access sector knowledge, best practice and new opportunities within an evolving and growing sector.

Whether you are already in the automotive supply chain, or looking to diversify, the LABS-S project will provide a package of support to navigate industry transitions such as new vehicle technology, industrial digitalisation, automation, future skills and localisation, to accelerate business growth and ensure the region remains globally competitive.

Get in touch with the NEAA team to discuss your tailored package of support.

Email address:    




Project Name: North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP)

Delivery Organisation: North East Screen

The North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) is a vehicle established to facilitate the strategic development of the TV & screen industry in the region, including screen industries and FE / HE organisations building creative talent in the region. NESIP was formed by Combined and Local Authorities from across the region to level up the regional film and TV industries by more than doubling its 2019 share of the UK production market and delivering an annual economic impact to the regional economy of £88m.

NESIP jointly invests £11.4m over a five-year period to deliver a new Screen Industries Development Programme maximising opportunities for significant growth within the screen industries sector and developing a thriving and sustainable ecosystem. NESIP represents all North East Local Authorities working in partnership, including Sunderland City Council.

Email address:




Project Name: Sunderland Innovate and Grow

Delivery Organisation: University of Sunderland

Delivery Partners: Sunderland Culture

Sunderland Innovate and Grow (SIG) brings together a range of complementary activities to catalyse and support innovation and business growth in the city.

The programme will benefit Sunderland-based companies by improving business practices, products and profits. Activity will support all steps of the innovation cycle through:

  • Identifying and promoting new technologies to stimulate innovation in process, product and business model via subject innovation specialists (Arrow);
  • Addressing gaps in business capacity and capability to innovate through active engagement and grant support, and student and graduate placements (Arrow and Innovation Placements);
  • Spotting innovative ideas and bringing them to market through engagement with commercial partners (Northern Accelerator);
  • Addressing innovation needs in the creative sector by engaging sector - specialists (Sunderland Culture Unlock Programme);

Contact: Mike Jurowski and Bev Trees

Email address:



Project Name: Wear Together Initiative

Delivery Organisation: North East Business & Innovation Centre

Wear Together provides social entrepreneurs in Sunderland with access to business support and grants assisting them with start, development, and growth of social businesses.  The programme helps individuals to explore their social enterprise ideas through the development of business plans / Business Model Canvas and financial forecasting as well as exploring legal structures and funding opportunities. The programme supports established/post start social businesses to increase their sustainability, develop new products and services, create jobs, and grow their businesses and inevitably their social impact in Sunderland. To do this, social businesses are supported with a wide range of advice including business planning, financial forecasting, marketing planning, legal and governance reviews and investment readiness. Support will be offered 1:1, small groups or through workshop programmes.

Wear Together brings the sector together through the Connect for Good network and encourages peer to per support mentoring and ideas exchange helping to develop sector resilience and collaboration.

The project also offers small grants.  This pot supports startups (under 12 months old) with grants of £1500 to help them to create jobs, take their products/services to market and grow their market presence. This pot also supports established social enterprises (aged 12 months plus) with funding up to £5000 to create jobs or develop a new product/service.  The first round of grants will launch on the 6th February.

Contact: Michelle Booth

Email address:

Telephone: 0191 516 6138



Project Name: Sunderland Business Support Fund

Delivery Organisation: Northumberland Business Services Limited

The Sunderland Business Support Fund will help local growing businesses to access high quality external expertise to deliver business improvement projects. SBSF will provide up to 40% funding for projects that cost between £3,000 and £6,000 (VAT costs cannot be funded).

The project can support consultancy, design or development projects. Examples include: Web design / development, Video production, Development of Animations, Marketing planning, Business Growth Planning, Developing Quality Management Systems and Strategy Development

Contact: John King

Email address:




Project Name: Supply Chain Sunderland

Delivery Organisation: RTC North

The Supply Chain Sunderland project will strengthen Sunderland's local entrepreneurial ecosystem by improving business resilience and growth, boosting survival rates, driving innovation, and enhancing market readiness for new supply chain opportunities.

Assistance will be provided to Sunderland SMEs in the manufacturing and service sectors to:

  • Assess core capabilities and strengths.
  • Identify areas for productivity enhancement, resilience building, and innovation.
  • Access opportunities to grow market share and diversify income.

Delivery Strands:

Strand 1: Awareness Raising

  • "Meet the Buyer" events for sectors like Aerospace, Defence, Rail, and Energy.
  • Online 'Supply Chain Exchange'.
  • Sector-specific events with partners like NEPO, NOF Energy, NEPIC, and MAKE UK.

Strand 2: Account Management, Diagnostic, and Action Planning

  • Capability review, market summary, growth aspirations, new market opportunities, and GAP analysis.

Strand 3: Low Intensity Support

  • Interventions, events, and workshops on global supply chain trends, procurement, industry standards, bid writing, and innovation management.


  • Sunderland SMEs in the manufacturing and service sectors.

Contract Dates: July 2024 - March 2025

Contact: Lesley Hawke

Email address:



Project Name: Expo Sunderland

Delivery Organisation: Siglion Developments LLP

Delivery Partners: Innovation SuperNetwork, Sunderland City Council

In partnership with Innovation SuperNetwork, Expo Sunderland is aiming to stimulate the development of start-ups and scale-ups on Wearside with the opportunity to co-develop solutions around Expo Sunderland's three core themes:-

Future Homes including how we might deliver greener, affordable homes for all Sunderland residents, and which solutions and initiatives may play a role in supporting this ambition.

Future Living including how we might support happier, healthier, more connected lives for Sunderland residents, with communities and community led initiatives at the heart of solutions developed.

Future City including how we might realise the potential of Sunderland, utilising assets such as its position as a connected, smart city as well as its existing industrial base, infrastructure and environment.

By creating a challenge for local businesses to provide solutions that are at the heart of the city's net-zero goals of creating a flourishing, healthy, sustainable city, we can show that we are rising to the challenge, ensuring the city is gathering pace, working with government, its people and businesses and the opportunity to showcase these innovations at Expo events in 2024 and 2025.


Sarah Gilley: 

Sarah Cox:




People & Skills: Support for Residents who are Economically Inactive and Seeking Work


Project Name: Wise Group Relational Mentoring (Sunderland)

Delivery Organisation: The Wise Group

Delivery Partners: Pallion Action Group, Springboard Sunderland Trust, Humankind, Foundation of Light

The Wise Group is now delivering its free-to-access, holistic, and evidenced Relational Mentoring support to economically inactive people with multiple barriers to employment in Sunderland City Council area. By working with people across a diverse set of 15 needs, ranging from housing, wellbeing, health and heating, multiple barriers can be tackled at once to give people the foundations to move forward with their lives.

Customers are matched with a locally based and experienced mentor, working compassionately and 1:1 to support them in identifying their specific barriers, developing a bespoke plan with key interventions, and creating a personalised journey with individual goals. Customer benefit entitlements are not affected by participation in the service.

Each journey is unique but examples of support can include:

  • Access to counselling and mental health support
  • Help to improve physical health and wellbeing
  • Advocacy and support with finance, benefits and debt
  • Basic and life skills and training, including Maths & English qualifications
  • Involvement in fun social inclusion events
  • Personal wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence-building activities
  • Energy advice and advocacy, including access to crisis funding
  • Housing support and guidance
  • CV writing, job search, volunteering and work experience
  • Signposting to other suitable services in the community


Economically Inactive customers in receipt of any disability/sickness benefits, carers, lone parents in the non-work group, people not in receipt of benefits.

Must be a resident in the Sunderland City Council area.

Wise Group Relational Mentoring (Sunderland) leaflet

Link to referral form:



People & Skills: Improving skills to progress in work and responding to local skills needs


Project Name: Sunderland Skills and Inclusion Programme (SSIP)

Delivery Organisation: University of Sunderland

Delivery Partners: University of Sunderland, Access Training Ltd, British ESports Federation, Media Savvy CIC, MTC Training, NBSL, SETA, Sunderland College, Sunderland Software City, TDR Training, Training in Care Ltd, Uplift Training

The Sunderland Skills and Inclusion Programme (SSIP) responds to an identified need to upskill Sunderland employees and businesses, addressing low productivity, lack of competitiveness, high levels of in-work benefits and missed opportunities for Sunderland residents to contribute fully to the economy. The aims of SSIP are threefold:

  • To respond to employer skills needs across priority areas identified in the Local Skills Improvement Plan, driving productivity and competitiveness in key sectors for the Sunderland economy;
  • To develop business management skills amongst SMEs in particular, and especially focusing on digital technologies, supporting SME's to develop and grow;
  • To support inclusion of diverse groups within the economy, through support for employers and employees to maximise the benefits of a diverse workforce.

SSIP includes a wide range of consortium partners, selected to reflect a range of specialisms, employer and community connections, as follows:

  • University of Sunderland (consortium lead) providing:

- higher level skills in Artificial Intelligence, use of advanced technology in manufacturing and creative industries

- business strategy, leadership and marketing

- desktop applications, business and management and leadership training through MTC Training

- equality and diversity masterclasses and short courses with a particular focus on LGBTQ+

  • TDR Training and SETA providing a complementary range of technical skills for the engineering and manufacturing industries
  • British E-Sports delivering digital skills to support careers in e-sports, with a strong inclusion dimension
  • Sunderland College providing skills support for construction, manufacturing and low carbon industries
  • NBSL delivering digital marketing and business operations to small companies
  • Sunderland Software City providing digital training and experience through customised work placements
  • Access Training Ltd delivering leadership and management with a digital focus, supported by mental health and disability support
  • Media Savvy CIC supporting the hospitality sector with a focus on health and wellness and entry level digital skills
  • Uplift Training delivering inclusion programmes and health and wellbeing including ESOL
  • Training in Care Ltd supporting specialist provision in the health and social care sectors.


Mike Jurowski:

Bev Trees

For general enquires please email



Project Name: Training for Growth

Delivery Organisation: North East Automotive Alliance

Delivery Partners: Education Partnership North East

The Training for Growth pilot aims to create a comprehensive framework to boost the number of technical apprenticeships in Sunderland.

Why the need?

Local technical skills availability represents a significant risk to business productivity and is a potential constraint to future growth.

This initiative is designed to address the future investment needs of the area by enhancing the skill levels of the local workforce. Through this pilot, residents will gain greater access to advanced apprenticeship programmes, which in turn will lead to higher qualifications, better job prospects, and increased wages. This systemic approach is intended to foster sustainable economic growth and improve the overall quality of life in the community.

This pilot is directly aligned with the priorities outlined in the North East Local Skills Improvement Plan (NELSIP) and has been shaped by comprehensive analyses conducted over several years by local stakeholders.

The opportunity

The Training for Growth pilot brings together businesses, employer bodies, and training providers to address the critical shortage of technical skills in Sunderland and the wider North East region, particularly within the advanced manufacturing sector and net-zero technologies.

The pilot will provide financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sunderland to enable them to take on technical apprenticeships (Level 3) as part of the September 2024 intake. This support will contribute to the additional costs that employers will incur in the first year of the programme.

Contact: Joe Routledge

Email address:




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