Sunderland’s Sunniside area is enjoying a renewed lease of life as businesses in the area continue to open and flourish.
As the country looks forward to returning to normality on 21 June, restaurants and leisure outlets in that section of the city are feeling optimistic about the future.
And that includes Sunderland Bowl at High Street West which, after 18 months of being closed, has invested heavily in the family-friendly attraction and created 23 jobs.
Neil Hamed, of the bowling alley, said the time closed had allowed the venue to be completely transformed – which includes being the first place in the region to offer a number of “socially competitive” electronic games such as smart darts.
“Our arcade has now become carnival-themed, with lots of new interactive games and some fun attractions such as transformers and coin pushers,” said Neil.
A nine-hole mini-golf has also been installed with the ground floor home to eight bowling lanes, with 16 more on the upper level.
The venue has also changed its food offering and has created a number of family-friendly packages, with a DJ in place at weekends to create a party atmosphere and offer a full night out.
At the same time Neil hopes that when the rules are finally relaxed, the spaces can also be used for corporate events, meetings and team-building activities.
“We have put in place all the measures to make sure that we are completely Covid secure,” he said.
“Everyone who has been in so far has been really impressed so we’re hoping that even more people will come and enjoy what we have to offer.”
The cinema and casino at Sunniside are also now open again, bringing visitors and shoppers back to that area of the city which is also home to a wide number of bars and restaurants.
Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, hopes that more people will go and see what Sunniside has to offer.
“It’s been particularly tough for businesses in that area during lockdown because it is home to so many hospitality and leisure outlets,” she said.
“But thankfully now everything has re-opened and people can really see how much there is to enjoy.”