Sunderland’s gift card brought a festive boost to the city’s businesses, following record sales.

The scheme – which has almost 200 businesses participating – has gone from strength to strength since it was launched in 2020.

And Sunderland BID, which set up the card, has revealed that it brought in a record £50,000 over Christmas.

A number of corporate sales coupled with the Bridges replacing its previous gift card with the city version in the autumn are all contributory factors to its most recent success.

Over last year more than £70,000 worth of gift cards were sold, with buyers now able to choose from a number of purchase options including buying them online, as an e-voucher or in person at a number of sales points across the city and beyond.

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, is delighted with the response – and the fact that more than £125,000 has been spent on cards since the scheme began.

“Giving someone a Sunderland Gift Card not only means they can choose to spend it in a whole variety of ways but comes with the added bonus that they are supporting businesses across the city,” she said.

“We hope that anyone who got a card over Christmas will now look to spend it in January and February.

“There are so many different places to spend it, from scores of retail outlets to experiences like the cinema or in restaurants, that there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Karen Eve, Centre Director at the Bridges, added that offering the city-wide card had been a good move for the shopping centre.

“We see ourselves very much at the heart of the city so it made total sense to us to be part of Sunderland’s own scheme,” she said.

“And it is great news that the convenience of being able to buy the cards directly at the Bridges has played a part in its success over the festive period.

“The next big day on the calendar is Valentine’s Day so we hope that anyone stuck on what to buy their loved one for a gift will also find this the perfect option.”

Gift cards can be purchased via or at physical sales points including the Bridges, Museum and Winter Gardens, National Glass Centre and Houghton and Washington libraries.

The gift card can be purchased as a digital download which can be delivered directly to the recipient’s device wallet.