01 February 2019

THE campaign to get local people to Shop Sunderland has been given some new support, from players from Sunderland AFC.

Following the devastating fire at the Peacocks store at Blandford Street last week, Sunderland Business Improvement District sent out a call for shoppers to support the other retailers, most of who are operating as usual.

And this campaign has now won the backing of two of the team, who took time out ahead of their home game against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday to head to Blandford Street.

Jack Baldwin and Grant Leadbitter joined SAFC’s executive director, Charlie Methven, to meet with local retailers and show their support.

An Academy of Light graduate, midfielder Grant Leadbitter, who is a life-long Sunderland fan, has returned to Sunderland AFC after a 10-year absence.

And this was his first public appearance since signing his new two-and-a-half year contract.

Leadbitter said: “The fire on Blandford Street has had a big impact on the traders but it’s great to see that it’s business as usual down here and there is a strong community spirit.

“It is great to be back in Sunderland. It’s really important that the club and players get out into the community. Having the backing of our fans can make a big difference to our game, so it’s important we support them as much as they support us.”

“The devastating fire at the Peacocks store was obviously a terrible blow to Blandford Street,” said Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.

“But we hope that shoppers will remember that there is still a fantastic variety of retailers in the street who are still trading and really need the support of the city.

“We are constantly promoting the Shop Sunderland message and inviting people to come and see the great mix of high street giants and independents we have in the city and this is a really important time for the shops at Blandford Street to get that support.”