30 April 2024

FROM supporting business through the pandemic to game changing anti-crime initiatives to creating an exciting programme of events – just some of the achievements of Sunderland BID.

The organisation – which this month started its third term of office – is celebrating ten years of work in the city, which has resulted in more than £6.5m investment back into the city centre, increased footfall and helped create a positive image of Sunderland to a wider audience.

Working in partnership with organisations ranging from Sunderland City Council to Northumbria Police, the BID has played a vital role in being a voice for businesses, creating ways to boost the local economy and promote Sunderland.

“It has been a fantastic ten years and we are delighted to be able to continue with the work of the BID thanks to the confidence shown to us by the businesses that voted yes,” said Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive.

“It is an extremely exciting time to be working in Sunderland with so much investment and development taking place and with such a positive future on the horizon.

“The BID has achieved so much over the last decade and we look forward to continuing to build on this legacy.”

Here are ten of the BID’s highlights over the past decade :-

2014 – Businesses in the city vote “yes” to the launch of a BID, which promises to embrace regeneration and build Sunderland’s reputation.


2015 – first ever Christmas extravaganza held in Keel Square with the creation of a Frost Village and Sunderland’s first outdoor ice rink.


2016 – Sunderland launches its first restaurant week, signing up a range of restaurants, bars and cafes to offer special deals to encourage people to dine out. Now the event regularly attracts more than 50 participating businesses, which last year alone saw an estimated economic impact of around £1m.


2017 – More than 2000 Sunderland College students took part in Clean Sweep – an initiative with the BID which saw a major clean up of the city centre to make it more welcoming for visitors and residents.


2018 – The BID appoints its first SR1 street ranger, tasked with ensuring the city streets are clean and tidy as well as being welcoming for visitors. Businesses voted yes for the retention of the BID for a second term.

Street Ranger

2019 – Sunderland holds its first Food and Drink Festival in Keel Square,High Street West and Market Square. Top chef Jean Christophe Novelli is one of the many attractions.


2020 – When Covid 19 hits, the BID creates a city centre Recovery Task Force to lessen the impact of the pandemic. It is so successful it is held up nationally as a blueprint of good practice. The BID also launched the first Sunderland Gift Card.

covid taskforce

2021 –  Gift Card starts to make a real impact on the local economy, not only being bought for individuals but by businesses to reward staff. Now more than 200 businesses accept the cards and sales have topped the £280k mark.


2022 – Launch of the SAIL – Sunderland Together Improving Lives - project which saw Sunderland City Council and Northumbria Police partner with the BID to make the city centre a safer and more attractive.


2023 – The BID works with Sunderland City Council on the citywide celebrations to mark the coronation of King Charles III. Businesses go to the ballot and re-elect the BID for a third term,. 


2024 – The BID begins its new term of office, which will include the extension of its remit to take in the Sheepfolds, which is to be home to a range of bars and restaurants.


For more information about the work the BID does in the city centre please visit