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Sunderland’s helping hands celebrate their centenary

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Published on 08 April 2022

President-elect Peter Dunn (centre) celebrates 100 years of the Rotary Club of Sunderland, with members and some of the 350 University of Sunderland students they have supported
President-elect Peter Dunn (centre) celebrates 100 years of the Rotary Club of Sunderland, with members and some of the 350 University of Sunderland students they have supported

For the last two decades, the luminous yellow bibs of the Rotary Club of Sunderland have been seen in the car parks of the University of Sunderland, collecting parking money on match days and around concerts at the Stadium of Light.

But the history of these very helpful older gentlemen goes back much further than that. The Rotary Club of Sunderland was founded in 1922, and they have been celebrating their centenary, and their long association with the University of Sunderland.

Volunteers from the Club operate the car parking system at the University's City Campus every Saturday. Shoppers, football fans and Sunderland Empire matinee customers make use of the parking facilities at a reduced rate.

What many of these shoppers, football and theatre fans may not know is that proceeds from their parking money are shared between the University's Development Trust and a range of local and Rotary charities. Since 2001, the yellow bibbed gentlemen have collected over £116,000 to support the University’s Futures Fund.

Now, the Club have launched The Rotary Club of Sunderland Centenary Prize, which will provide a cash award to a graduating care leaver or estranged student. The inaugural prize will be presented this summer.  

Phillip Tweddell, President of the Rotary Club of Sunderland, said: “The Rotary Club of Sunderland is dedicated to giving back to the local community and supporting people from diverse backgrounds. We are particularly pleased to offer additional support to some of Sunderland’s most deserving students in our centenary year.

“We are proud to support these students and honoured to contribute to the University of Sunderland’s life-changing work.”

The University of Sunderland’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, said: “Sunderland Rotary has raised over £116,000 for the University – a tremendous amount. The money has supported a wide variety of individuals and causes, including our Digital Media Centre and the Futures Fund, helping over 350 students with financial assistance.

“As well as 2022 being an auspicious year for Sunderland Rotary, it also marks the 30th anniversary of Sunderland gaining university status. In this year of celebration, both organisations can look back with pride with the contribution that they have made to our great city.”

Every year the University’s Development Office awards tens of thousands of pounds in scholarships. Development Officer Scholarships (DOSH) are exclusive to current students, both undergraduate and postgraduate studying at the University. Scholarships are non-means tested and you never have to pay them back.

The Rotary Club of Sunderland was founded in 1922 and is part of an international organisation whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

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