All set for a fun-filled community Christmas

Virtual Santa sessions for families, Christmas dinners delivered to doorsteps and angel messages left around the community.

These are just some of the ways Sunderland City Council is looking to bring a bit of festive cheer to some of the most vulnerable people in communities this Christmas.

Working with the voluntary and community sector (VCS), the council has allocated almost £75,000 to its #communitychristmas project to fund more than 40 community projects across the city in the run up to the big day.

Councillor Linda Williams, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, said: "This is all about bringing a bit of Christmas spirit to some of the most vulnerable in our communities. This year has been such a tough one for everyone in our city and we have come across so many residents feeling isolated and lonely during the Covid pandemic.

"So we're hoping these projects will help bring a fun-filled community Christmas to families old and young, vulnerable and isolated residents, people living on their own and to older people by providing activities, online events and hampers full of goodies.

"We've also linked up with local traders to source the contents of hampers and Christmas lunches, helping to support local businesses and put money back into the local economy.

"This builds on the work we have been doing throughout the pandemic to support our most vulnerable residents in a whole variety of ways."

This has included everything from volunteers collecting shopping and prescriptions, to weekly keep in touch calls, virtual coffee mornings and families taking part in virtual fitness sessions from the safety of their own homes.

Cllr Williams added: "We know from the calls we've been making to our more vulnerable residents to check that they're ok, that loneliness and isolation has been a real issue for some. That's why it was one of the areas we asked VCS to focus on.

"I'm delighted to say our partners in the voluntary and community sector have once again stepped up the plate and come up with a fantastic range of projects which will help make such a difference to some of the people we're helping across our communities this Christmas."

Information on projects in each of the areas will be available on the area Facebook pages.

Full details of all the projects being delivered under the #communitychristmas will be on the council's website from mid December.