The soon-to-be-opened Sheepfolds Stables, part of Sunderland’s multi-million pound Riverside regeneration project, has announced the appointments of Nigel Wood and Cat Sanderson as General Manager of Operations and Weddings, Events and Hires Manager respectively.

The highly anticipated leisure development is due to open in summer, and is tipped to become one of the most popular social destinations for the city and wider North East region.

It will offer a diverse range of independent food, drink, events and entertainment venues, and significantly boost the local hospitality sector by creating up to 100 jobs directly and within the supply chain.

Nigel brings more than 20 years’ experience working in events and hospitality management including high-volume branded sites, independent bars, restaurants, gastro pubs and nightclubs.

His expertise spans both front and back-of-house, as well as time served as owner/operator of a local micropub.

As General Manager of Operations, Nigel will now be responsible for overseeing all service offering within the Stables development, working closely with individual tenants to ensure the highest standards of food, drink, hospitality and customer service are available to guests.

Wedding, Events and Hires Manager, Cat Sanderson, will head up a team that will welcome an anticipated 150,000 plus guests to the site within the first year of opening.

This will include wedding parties, business delegates and private guests attending functions from corporate conferences to birthday celebrations.

Cat brings a high level of professional expertise having previously set up and ran her own wedding and events company.

She will now work closely – and directly – with customers and suppliers to plan, manage and deliver specialist events utilising the site’s function suites and social spaces, one of which boasts spectacular views over the River Wear.

The Stables, built in 1883, is currently being redeveloped by Sunderland HQ’d architecture and engineering practice, Building Design Northern (BDN).

Managing director, Richard Marsden, commented: “The opening of Sheepfolds Stables is imminent and highly anticipated, so we are delighted to have appointed Nigel and Cat who between them will deliver the highest standards of hospitality and events management.

“This is a prime leisure destination that has seen major investment over the last 18 or so months, attracting many high-profile operators who each bring something unique to the venue. The expertise that Nigel and Cat both bring supports this even further.”