Shoppers at Sunderland’s Jacky Whites Market are in line for a festive surprise, with more than £2000 worth of city gift cards up for grabs.

As part of a campaign to get people to shop local, traders have joined forces and are running a prize draw with a difference.

Anyone who buys something from the participating stallholders on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas will get the opportunity to pick a ticket from a festive red box, where they could win a £5 Sunderland Gift Card.

More than 400 winning tickets have been shared across all of the boxes, to give everyone a fair chance of getting an unexpected bonus with their purchase.

And even those who don’t win will still be able to laugh about it – as the losing tickets contain Christmas cracker jokes.

The boxes can be found at LG Fashion, Good N Healthy, the Jewellery Box, Made by SallyJ, AndyMan UpCycling, Crazy Fantazy Fancy Dress and DC’s Scents.

Also participating are The Vape Shop, The Pet Shop, Lilley Belles, Glamour Nails, Bags of Bags, S and M Cards, The Kiosk and Mobile Mania.

To add to the fun, every Saturday before Christmas shoppers can also meet a range of festive characters, which this week (Sat 11 December) includes Mrs Claus, who will be collecting children’s letters for Santa.

Youngsters who bring a letter can return the following week to receive their personalised reply.

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, hopes that the promise of a gift card will incentivise people to visit Jacky Whites.

“The market is full of fantastic, independent businesses and this is a great opportunity for shoppers to support them, with the possibility of winning a gift card,” she said.

“And because the cards can be spent in more than 150 outlets across the city, it means that even more businesses can potentially also benefit.

“We’ve got a fantastic programme of events in Sunderland this festive season and this is just another great reason for people to come and enjoy what we have on offer.”

Activities across the city include the covered ice rink at Keel Square and a fairground at the former Crowtree site.

The full Christmas programme is available at