Council Leader Cllr Paul Watson pictured with Volunteers on the phone for Sport Relief 2014 at the Sunderland City Council Customer Contact Centre at Sunderland Civic Centre

COUNCIL employees in Sunderland are once again manning the phone lines to help raise money for this year’s Sport Relief on Friday 18 March.

The City Council’s Customer Contact Centre has been acting as a volunteer pledge centre for the biennial charity event since 2009.

Last time round it handled an estimated 2,500 calls and coordinated donations just tipping £67,000.

This year over 80 council employees have volunteered to man 75 telephone lines between 7pm and midnight for people to ring and pledge their donations. Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding is also one of those taking calls.

Volunteers will be entering into the spirit with team competitions, games and fancy dress.

The Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson is also attending to cheer volunteers on.

Cllr Emerson said: “It’s fantastic to see so many of our employees willing to give up their Friday night to volunteer for such a worthy cause.  This is a very special event which raises lots of money for charities both here and abroad.

He added: “We’re incredibly proud of our staff and the way they always pull out all the stops to support events like Sport Relief and Red Nose Day.”

Sports Relief which runs on alternate years with Red Nose Day to annually raise millions of pounds for charity.

This is the seventh year running that employees from Sunderland City Council have been involved in taking telephone pledges and donations on Sport Relief and Comic Relief.

Money raised by Sport Relief helps to give people living in grinding poverty across Africa a better chance in life, and also helps poor and disadvantaged people and communities across the UK turn their lives around.

See link to images at the end of release from the last Sport Relief in 2014 when the City Council’s contact centre took 2,500 calls and coordinated more than £67,000 worth of donations.