Get Involved in Your Community

The City Council and its partners provide a range of ways for local people to become involved and influence decisions and their local area and Sunderland.

This section provides information on the different opportunities available to you. Whether you are interested in a particular issue, service or community in Sunderland there is a way for you to get involved and influence the decisions that are being made. we hope you will take up the challenge and really make a difference.


Volunteering is an important expression of citizenship and is essential to democracy.

It is the commitment of time and energy for the benefit of society and the community, and can take many forms, such as volunteering to provide a service as a volunteer within an organisation, befriending and mentoring, organising sports and physical recreation, acting as a trustee or member of a voluntary board or committee, leading a voluntary initiative, community activism or campaigning to identify and tackle unmet needs. It is undertaken freely, through personal choice and not for financial gain.

The potential benefits to volunteers include:

  • Increased employability, particularly significant in a time of increasing unemployment
  • The development of personal skills brings benefits to the individual and the community as a whole
  • The opportunity to increase social networks creating a 'sense of belonging'
  • Volunteer activities are attributed to improvements in over-all health and well-being
  • Involvement in decision-making processes that influence services to meet local needs

Volunteering should not affect your right to benefits, as long as the only money you receive is to cover your volunteering expenses.

If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, you can volunteer full time as long as you are still actively seeking employment.

Also, you must be able to attend job interviews at 48 hours notice and be available to take up paid work at one week's notice.


Take part in surveys and other consultations

There are a range of opportunities for you to have your say through consultations that are taking place across the city.

This might include surveys, on-line consultations,  events, meetings and focus groups. Recent examples include questionnaires and focus groups about play areas in Sunderland, a telephone survey about experiences and priorities in relation to crime and anti-social behaviour and an online survey and workshops about the council's website.

Visit our consultation portal to find out about consultations taking place and:

•  register to receive alerts about consultations

•  take part in consultations

•  find out the results of past consultations.

Equality Forums

We firmly believe that everyone should be treated as equals, whether in the community or the workplace, irrespective of their circumstances or background. We want Sunderland to be a city rich in diversity where people feel valued, are able to be themselves and are the best that they can be. We have a range of things in place to support this - see links below.