Major contractors working in Sunderland have delivered much-needed items to the city’s vulnerable residents, after an event organised by the council.

Homeless people, ex-forces, vulnerable residents and families in need have benefited from a range of much-needed donations from Sunderland City Council’s construction contractors.

Businesses including Wates, Keir, VolkerStevin and National Grid attended an event at City Hall that was organised by the local authority to collect as many items of food, clothing, homeware and gift vouchers as possible.

Contractors were issued with shopping lists of essential items that would improve and add value to venues at the heart of Sunderland communities, who improve the lives of residents from across the city.

Businesses had the opportunity to share more about the ways in which they work to support the city’s residents through their social value commitments, before embarking on a shopping trip to stock up on essentials that will be donated by the council to residents via voluntary sector organisations across Sunderland.

Councillor Paul Stewart, cabinet secretary at Sunderland City Council, said: “We made a commitment to our residents to ensure that we drive maximum social value from every pound we spend with our supply chain, and through events like this, we are able to directly channel the effort and energy of contractors to support residents who need most help.

“We’re delighted to have delivered the first event of this kind, and look forward to building on this with our supply chain in the future.

“This is just one small part of a much wider effort to ensure that contractors we appoint in Sunderland do their bit to support local businesses and residents.”

Items were handed over to the council’s Community Resilience Team after the event, for distribution to appropriate organisations across the city.

Terry Hanlon, CSR manager for Keir in the North East – the firm that will build both Culture House and the new Eye Hospital – said: “This challenge is a great example of how the construction industry can come together to make an impact on people’s lives, especially those vulnerable in our communities.

“Social value is core to our business and something we are really proud to do.”

As well as challenges like this, construction partners are also required to meet stringent commitments that include local spending, working with schools and volunteering.

Ashleigh Coombes, social value advisor for Wates, who are construction AESC’s new Gigafactory in Washington, said: “We’re really passionate about leaving a lasting legacy behind us. Giving back to those community groups and charities is really important. All of the contractors are coming together collaboratively to make a big difference to people’s lives in Sunderland.”

Thousands of items were collected including new and second hand furniture, electrical goods, leisure equipment, games, craft items, stationery, homeware items and consumables with an estimated value of £10,000.

Mark Denim, project director at VolkerStevin, the firm that is building the new Wear footbridge, said: “It’s great to be linking in with the other contractors today, so we can create a better difference for the people of Sunderland as well as the infrastructure we’re building.

“I think it’s great that we’re actually going to work together to deliver loads of items and actually try and bring benefits – that our infrastructure projects will bring too – to the people of Sunderland as early as possible.”