The Education and Services for People with Autism (ESPA) charity was presented with a cheque from Sunderland’s independent shops, following the success of the city centre’s first Christmas market.
Peter Corbucci, who volunteers with Reynolds Outdoor Centre, accepted the cheque on behalf of the charity from Peter Reynolds of Reynolds Outdoor Centre. Peter Corbucci lives at the sheltered housing in Sunderland run by ESPA.
Anthony Reynolds, vice chair of Sunderland Traders’ Association and owner of Sunderland’s oldest established independent shop, Reynolds Outdoor Centre, said: “We wanted Christmas 2016 to be extra special for shoppers in Sunderland, and the national initiative Small Business Saturday spurred us on to focus on what we could do to create new excitement and colour in the city centre.
“We decided to design and set up market stalls which attracted crowds of people to the market square, and brought together independent shops from across the city. It was a great event, and we can confirm that we will be organising more city markets this year to give local people the chance to see the variety of fantastic goods and delicious foods we offer in Sunderland’s shops.”
The link to the ESPA charity was suggested by Anthony Reynolds because of the support he has from Peter Corbucci, who now regularly works at Reynolds Outdoor Centre. He said: “Peter came to us to suggest he helped out in the shop for an hour a week. He enjoys working with us, so much so that he now comes three days a week to help out.”
As vice chair of the Traders’ Association, Anthony Reynolds is keen that the city centre actively promotes the range of shops it offers local people. “Reynolds has been in the city since 1860 – it’s the oldest independent shop in Sunderland. My father, Peter Reynolds, worked in the shop from the age of 16 to 80, and I was delighted that he presented the cheque to Peter Corbucci.
“Times have changed hugely during my father’s career, and it’s important that we have a busy city centre that attracts shoppers, visitors and commuters to bring it to life. Events such as the market stalls bring new fun and energy to the streets and encourage people to see what is on offer.
“It ties in with the City of Culture bid, which will boost the pride of local people in the city through a range of events.”
Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re delighted at the success of the Christmas markets in the city centre, and at ESPA charity benefitting from that success. It’s even better news that Sunderland Traders’ Association is planning more markets in 2017.
“We have a great range of independent shops to suit everyone in the city with a variety of goods and merchandise. What sets Sunderland apart from other shopping cities, however, is its exceptional customer service. Retail staff make a huge difference to the customer experience, and in Sunderland shoppers can expect genuinely friendly, courteous, helpful staff, however busy they may be.”
Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.