A look at Aspire in the North of the City

The aim of Aspire is to enable local people to improve their community. The grants are used to support a range of different activities that complement the work we do. Our Aspire Grants are accessible to anyone working with local people in the City of Sunderland. We offer grants up to the value of £500 that meet the following themes:

Community projects

Events, set up and support for existing groups

Environmental projects

Improvements to the immediate area around your home or neighbourhood

Capacity building projects

Projects that tackle unemployment and personal and community development

Health and wellbeing projects

Projects that tackle health and wellbeing issues within communities


Projects that address issues around digital, social and financial inclusion


Projects and activities wholly designed and delivered by young people

Since April 2018 over £2800 has been awarded to local community groups in the North of Sunderland.

Here is a snap shot of some of the successful applications:

Fulwell Community Library

Awarded £500 to pay for a projector to be used in the library. 

Richard Beck, Director, said the process of Aspire was really easy to follow, it was informal and the panel were genuinely interested to know more about our project.

The funding was received in good time and we now have the projector in the library and being used by a number of groups.  We have put on movie nights for children – Hocus Pocus at Halloween and we plan to show Polar Express at Christmas.  Good family entertainment!

The ukulele group use the projector to project the sheet music for all the members of the group to see.

The Fulwell Community library is at the heart of Fulwell, and has become a successful venue being the host to a number of events and activities, including a beetle drive, choir, children events, coffee mornings and many others.  It was opened in 2017 and is ran by over 60 volunteers.  They have welcomed a staggering 17,000 visitors since April 2018. 

Town End Farm Residents Association

The residents group applied for and were successful in being awarded £388 to purchase kitchen equipment for their building in Town End Farm.  Jean Bramham who is the Secretary for the group said “over the years we have built a good rapport with Gentoo and the Aspire Panel.  They know the good work we do for our community and are keen to support what we offer.  The panel are always fair and often ask for more information about the application.”

The grant allowed the group to provide food and catering for a number of events this summer/Halloween and the group are now planning to provide a full Christmas dinner for local residents. 

HOPS - Healing Opportunities provisions Scheme

HOPS are based in the Roker area of Sunderland and offer quality complementary healthcare and wellbeing classes to anyone who needs stress relief and assistance in pain management.  The group applied for an Aspire grant in September 2018 and were awarded £500. They purchased craft materials for activity groups for carers coffee mornings in 5 areas of the city.
Sunderland Home Grown

This is a relatively new Community Interest Group based in Thompson Park, Southwick. The group applied for £500 to purchase a poly tunnel and materials to build raised beds.  They were recently awarded the grant on 12 November 2018.  Sunderland Home Grown provide a community nursery and garden centre facility for vulnerable young people, creating a training garden centre to increase therapeutic horticultural activity for people with learning and physical difficulties or disabilities.  The poly tunnel and raised planters will be used daily and make gardening available all year round.

Gary Hillery, Director said “Thank you for supporting our project, it means a great deal to us”.

The FANS museum

Keith Havelock from the FANS museum applied to Aspire for funds to pay for DBS checks for volunteers helping in the museum, so that they could work closely with vulnerable adults, older people, schools and youth groups.  The panel approved the application and awarded the museum £500.

Keith said “being quite new to applying for community grants, the Aspire process was easy to follow and to apply for, and he would recommend other local groups do the same!”

To apply, please complete an Aspire application form, available from the website, any housing office or contact the customer and community team on 0191 525 2760.