THE ongoing transformation of Sunderland’s seafront has received a major boost after scooping Coastal Communities Funding to convert little used buildings into new cafes and restaurants.

This follows the success of a joint bid by Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Culture which will see a £820,000 grant funding contribution towards the cost of the a £1.4m project coming to the city.

The funding will also be used to support the continued growth of the city’s cultural sector.

The award will mean the City Council can go-ahead with its plans to convert the old Tram Shelter and former Bay Shelter at Seaburn into cafes/restaurants, along with a former toilet block at Roker.

It will also fund the building of 12 beach huts on the promenade north of the Fat Buddha at Seaburn and upgrading the infrastructure at Seaburn Camp for touring caravans.

The role of the Sunderland Seafront Trust which is currently the governing body for the Roker Heritage Group, whose volunteers run the popular pier and lighthouse tours, will also be expanded as part of the project.

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in scooping this funding from the Coastal Communities Fund.

“The transformation of the former Seaburn Shelter into the popular Fat Buddha restaurant has been a real success story so there is enormous potential for other little used or redundant seafront buildings to take on a newC lease of life as cafes or restaurants.

“The introduction of beach huts in other areas has also been tremendously popular so I think they will be a welcome addition to our seafront.

“It’s all part of our ongoing efforts to make the most of our beautiful beaches and seafront, which have seen £10m invested in the regeneration of the seafront since 2010.”

The funding will also support the continued growth of the city’s cultural sector with Sunderland Culture working in partnership with the North East Business and Innovation Centre and Sunderland Software City.

Rebecca Ball, Creative Director for Sunderland Culture, said: “We’re delighted that Sunderland’s Coastal Communities Fund project has been given the green light.

“This comes at at just the right time for the city, as there is real impetus around the growth of Sunderland’s cultural sector at the moment.

“This investment will help support the growth of a cluster of creative entrepreneurs, artists and creative businesses and deliver events, workshops, skills development – including business support, residencies and mentoring opportunities. We know it will make a real difference to our creative graduates, start-ups and existing SMEs across the city.”

“Sunderland is a city built on partnerships – and we are delighted to be working with Sunderland City Council and other city partners on this project.”

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