SUNDERLAND’s the Bridges has a spring in its step – after being rewarded for its support of a leading training organisation.
The centre has been named Supporting Business of the Year in the Springboard Trust’s GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Awards, in recognition of its on-going commitment to the training provider.
The centre has been working with Springboard – which aims to create sustainable communities across the North East through training, apprenticeships and opportunities for unemployed people – for around three years.
Springboard has a unit in the Bridges and has worked with the shopping centre to create a quiet room which families with children who have autism or learning difficulties can use to have time out.
The Springboard Access Point unit allows shoppers to access free careers and education information, advice and guidance and to participate in training, giving people the confidence and skills they need to make informed choices.
Steve Reay, Chief Executive of Springboard, praised the relationship the organisation has with the shopping centre.
“The Access point has proved a huge success since its launch, allowing learners of all ages and abilities to access their free training in a fantastic city-centre venue and this has been even more essential throughout the challenges of Covid-19,” he said.
“The Bridges was awarded best Supporting Partner 2020 as a result of the close work carried out between our two organisations throughout the pandemic, ensuring Springboard could continue to offer vital support to the learners and residents of Sunderland and beyond in the safe, well managed and central venue that is the Bridges.”
John Green, retail liaison manager at the centre who has worked with Springboard over a number of years, was delighted to receive the award.
“We were runners-up last year so it’s fantastic that we’ve taken first place this year,” he said.
Karen Eve, centre director at the Bridges echoed John’s words;
“Springboard does a fantastic job in providing a whole range of services and opportunities for people of all ages and we are glad to be able to continue to support them,” she said.
“They do amazing work which, now more than ever, when people are experiencing unemployment and furlough due to Covid-19, the support and training they offer helps individuals stand out when trying to secure jobs.
“It is our pleasure to collaborate with them to allow the Sunderland community to benefit from their expertise.”