The Partners

The Sustainable Sunderland Partner organisations provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise to anyone who would like to find out more about sustainability, One Planet Living and reducing carbon emissions.

Each Partner has either a person or a team dedicated to dealing with inquiries about Sustainable Sunderland. To find out more details please use the contact information below or click on the links in the list below to visit their website(s). Please note all of the contact numbers will usually only be available during normal office hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

You may contact one or as many of these Partners as you wish – the choice is entirely yours. If you have spoken to another Partner already please let whomever you speak to know to avoid any unnecessary work on their part in providing you with the best service possible.

The Partners in Sustainable Sunderland are (in alphabetical order) –


Age UK Sunderland strives to provide high quality services and activities for all older people throughout the City of Sunderland. They also campaign on issues affecting older people both locally and nationally. A range of their services are listed below –

  • ActivAge
  • Advocacy Service
  • Befriending Service
  • Day clubs & day services
  • Dial A Driver
  • Essence Service Leaflet
  • Fit as a fiddle
  • Hospital discharge scheme
  • LIFEstyle services
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Men’s group
  • Products & services
  • Social focus group
  • Sustainable Sunderland Programme
  • 50+ forums
  • Volunteering
  • Warm Homes

To find out more about Age UK Sunderland please click on this link (opens in a new window).


Gentoo Group is a large North East based social enterprise with a vision to improve the Art of Living.  Their work is focused around three key areas to maximise our impact: people, planet and property.

Gentoo invest the income from their property activities along with the talent and energy of their team into finding solutions for some of society’s most pressing concerns.  Ultimately they aim to enable people to realise their true potential and achieve their aspirations.

Nationally, they campaign and influence strategies that may affect their colleagues and customers.  Locally, they are one of the biggest employers and landlords in Sunderland.

To find out more about Gentoo please visit their website by clicking on this link (opens in a new window).

2015 marks the 30th year that Groundwork has been inspiring change and supporting communities in the North East.

Groundwork’s first North East Trust was set up in 1985 to meet the needs of communities suffering as a result of the pit closures in East Durham. Over the next twenty years other Trusts were established in West Durham, South Tyneside, Middlesbrough and then Northumberland. In 2009 following a merger, Groundwork North East was created bringing together the delivery of over 350 projects per year that continue to help improve the quality of people’s lives, their prospects and potential, and the places where they live, work and play.

In October 2010 Cumbria officially became part Groundwork North East’s operational area making them Groundwork NE & Cumbria.

They continue to take positive steps and build partnerships that lead to Groundwork NE & Cumbria changing places and changing lives.

You can find out more about Groundwork North East please click on this link to visit their website (opens in a new window).


International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS) is a successor of Sunderland Polish Community Association (2007). ICOS came to being in June 2009, as an unincorporated association, governed by constitution. Since that time, they have grown to having well over 400 members. They have 7 management committee members and over 20 volunteers.They were registered as a charity in April 2011.

They are based in Sunderland and most of their work tends to be based in Sunderland, however they have members from all over the Tyne and Wear and County Durham, including Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham.

ICOS exist to benefit the local community, minority ethnic people in particular.

ICOS organise consultation and information events, provide free and affordable training and education (formal and informal). They have a Drop-in Advice and Guidance Centre, used by people seeking help with
official correspondence, access to welfare, employability and rights at work.
ICOS has also organised and co organised numerous art and cultural projects, such as Meet your Neighbour or the Made in Poland Festival. They also organise social events where people from different communities can come together and get to know each other.

 To visit ICOS’s website for more information please click on this link (opens in a new window).

Sunderland BME Network Limited (SBMEN) are the lead Partner in Sustainable Sunderland. It was set up in 2005 to bring together the BME voluntary sector in Sunderland.

To find out more about Sunderland BME Network Limited please click on this link to visit their website (opens in a new window).


Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES) is a social enterprise company with more than three decades of practical experience in promoting and supporting all kinds of enterprise. They deliver business support services using their own unique Improving Livelihoods: Prospecting for Enterprise™ model. Theirr individually tailored, hands-on approach is very effective and highly regarded by their clients.

To find out more about SES please visit their website by clicking on this link (opens in a new window).


Sunderland City Council are an advisory Partner in this programme.

To visit the Sunderland City Council website please click on this link (opens in a new window).  To find out about their commitment to Sustainability please click on this link to read the webpage and associated articles regarding Sustainability at Sunderland City Council (opens in a new window).

Voluntary and Community Action Sunderland (VCAS) exists to champion and strengthen local charities, voluntary organisations and community groups operating for the benefit of the people of Sunderland and its surrounding areas. They work with members of the community offering support, development and training to individuals groups and organisations.

To visit the VCAS website please click on this link (opens in a new window).

Please note – KNW Ltd. were formerly a private sector Partner but they ceased trading in March 2015.

The Sustainable Sunderland programme also has support from –

Sunderland Partnership (opens in a new window)

O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions (opens in a new window)