Play­ing to our strengths ...

Sunderland Echo - - Promoted Content -

He has lived and worked in the city for more than 40 years, and as the man at the head of cham­pi­oning Sun­der­land city cen­tre, Alan Patch­ett sees a bright fu­ture.

In June, Mr Patch­ett took the reins as chair­man of the board at Sun­der­land Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District (BID) af­ter re­tir­ing from his post as di­rec­tor at Age UK Sun­der­land.

Hav­ing been on the board of the BID since it be­gan, Mr Patch­ett has been in­volved in ev­ery step so far, and ad­mits his aims now are to help de­velop the city cen­tre into a place where peo­ple want to work, live and play.

“Since tak­ing up the new role, it has re­ally fo­cused my mind to what needs to be done in both the short and long term, to get Sun­der­land to where we want it to be,” he said.

“I think we have to re­ally fo­cus on do­ing things that peo­ple can see are mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence.”

Re­cent ini­tia­tives like Project 100, which in­volved 3,000 stu­dents from Sun­der­land Col­lege help­ing clean up Park Lane and its sur­round­ing area, have proved pop­u­lar and with the Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions now a big pri­or­ity, it’s a busy time for every­one in­volved.

“We’ve just had a tremen­dous boost from the Project 100 ini­tia­tive, which shows that things are be­ing done to im­prove the look of the city and we are also supporting the bid to be­come City of Cul­ture in 2021, which, if suc­cess­ful, would make a huge dif­fer­ence not only to the city cen­tre, but to the whole of Sun­der­land.”

With a year to run of its cur­rent ten­ure, Mr Patch­ett be­lieves the BID needs to fo­cus on Sun­der­land’s in­di­vid­ual mer­its. “I’ve al­ways said we shouldn’t try to copy any­where else,” he stresses. “We aren’t New­cas­tle or Hull, we are Sun­der­land and we need to play to our own strengths. “The Vaux site is start­ing to be de­vel­oped now at long last which I think will drive more new busi­nesses into the city. “For me, I would like to see more in­de­pen­dent traders. “One of the things we have is a lot of fan­tas­tic in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses, and I be­lieve we should work hard to en­cour­age more. “We have a won­der­ful res­tau­rant cul­ture here too. “We’ve also got work go­ing on with Jacky Whites mar­ket which will make it a re­ally unique place, and we have things go­ing on at the for­mer Park Lane mar­ket, so it’s an ex­cit­ing time for the city, and we need every­one to get on board.”

Mr Patch­ett says he and the team is fully com­mit­ted to work­ing with the ex­ist­ing busi­nesses to carve out a strong fu­ture for the city, and is hope­ful that busi­ness lead­ers will con­tinue to sup­port the BID and work with it.

“We need to con­tinue talk­ing to the levy pay­ers so they can see that we are mak­ing big im­prove­ments for every­one, and to en­sure they are get­ting value for money, he added.

“Go­ing for­ward, we need to work with our unique as­sets to en­cour­age more and more peo­ple to come into Sun­der­land.

“We are in a unique po­si­tion to re­ally make a dif­fer­ence, and we just hope we can get the sup­port we need to carry it through.”

Chair­man of the board at Sun­der­land Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District, Alan Patch­ett.

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