Sunderland is a special place in the UK. We’re blessed with a stunning coastline, a fabulous city centre and a tightly-knitted community.

In recent years, more people are starting to give back to the community and this is a trend that shows no sign of stopping.

This winter, we took to the streets of Sunderland with Gentoo to serve first-hand the fabulous volunteering work going on in our local communities.

Fulwell Community Library

Standing tall on Station Road in the middle of Fulwell, amazing work is going on behind the scenes to transport Fulwell Community Library into the area’s epicentre of community activity.

The library has been open for over three years now and it’s fair to say that the library is booming!

Ran by dedicated volunteers, the library provides an enhanced community service and works closely with local organisations. Supported by Gentoo, the library has recently received funding to replace a dilapidated heating system in the library and more improvements are in the pipeline too.

The library exists solely on volunteers and local residents giving up their time to create an overwhelming sense of community.

By operating a community cafe stocked full of delicious treats, sumptuous snacks, piping-hot drinks and performance space, the library is able to welcome diverse sectors of the community over a cup of tea and shared love of music.

Visitors have enjoyed spell-binding performances from youth clubs, local choirs and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

A shared love of music and a good old cuppa’ isn’t the only thing the library offer, the volunteers recently clubbed together and provided the area with a Christmas tree as well as gorgeous furnishing planters along the Sea Road area – helping improve the street scene.

Aiming to encourage and bring the local community together with support, activities, and resources to make positive changes, Fulwell Community Library is a shining example of how successful volunteering in the local community can be.

Open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, why not pop along, kick back with a coffee and take a good nosey round all the amazing work going on.

Washington Village

Another shining example of community spirit can be found over at Washington Village.

Local residents are celebrating after winning Best Village in the Northumbria region and awarded gold in the Northumbria in Bloom awards for the third year running!

The prestigious prize is awarded for exceptional work in environmental responsibilities, community participation and horticultural knowledge.

An amazing accolade for all those involved, volunteers worked together throughout the spring and summer to ensure that the area stood out to judges.

Over the past year, local residents have worked together on a number of projects to help the village stand out. This included a poignant solider tribute on the village green, seat installation for the elderly and the maintenance of four bug hotels too!

Fancy getting involved in the action? Want to get involved and help shape Sunderland’s future? Check out Gentoo’s Ustoo Scrutiny Group.

A group of dedicated volunteers who independently scrutinise the superb services offered by Gentoo, with the prime focus of improving Gentoo’s services for the people of Sunderland.

Working closely with volunteers, community groups and other organisations across the city, create partnerships working alongside customers and help shape the future of Gentoo.

This fantastic voluntary group of people regularly choose what topics to investigate, identify key areas for improvement based on customers feedback, giving up spare time to help improve the services for the local residents of Sunderland – all decisions are made with customers needs and aspirations at the core.




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