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25 March 2024

£1.2 million renovation starts on site at the Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre

Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre, (SBIC) based in Henden, will be transformed into a state-of-the-art hub for young people, giving them new opportunities to enhance wellbeing, have fun, grow their self-confidence, and gain valuable skills for life and work. A grant of £1.238,165.00 from the Youth Investment Fund will pay for a major renovation and expansion of the centre. The new space will benefit both young people and Hendon’s diverse community and means SBIC will be able to support more young people. Building work started on site today (25 March 2024) and is due to complete in in late October 2024.

Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre has been a hub for Sunderland’s diverse community since 1999. It a community anchor and a safe and welcoming space for all the community to enjoy, offering activities and cultural events as well as training to support growth and development.

Young people value coming to SBIC and the opportunities it offers. Hussain Ahmed, age 15, explains:

Before joining the SBIC, I would either sit at home and do nothing or just be outside being up to no good, but now with the activities and sessions we do with the centre, I’m learning new things every day, getting to do more physical activities which keeps me fit and I have lots of fun.

Hussain Ahmed

The Youth Investment Fund grant will fully refurbish and expand its training centre space and create new partitions for four separate training and new learning spaces, giving greater flexibility, and the opportunity to run more parallel sessions for young people. Young people will be able to access youth working qualifications, plus there will be more space for fun activities and a new “chill out” zone for young people to relax and hang out with their friends. The development will enable the Centre to offer new activities, including art and crafts and outdoor physical activities, including football.

The funding will enable the Centre to update and enhance IT equipment and take forward its digital inclusion strategy, helping young people to develop new skills and have confidence using digital technology. Young people will also benefit from the centre’s new kitchen, ensuring they can always access a hot meal, plus having a fantastic opportunity to gain catering skills.

The Youth Investment Fund is enabling SBIC to grow and enhance our youth offer, generate income, and deliver a shared vision for our rich community. The grant is helping us deliver our long-term ambitions to give everyone new opportunities, fulfil their passions and get the best training and support to make their way in world. And vitally it moves us forward in our dream to develop as an Accredited Learning Centre for young people and adults - our centre will be a beacon of hope for the whole community.

Abu Shama
CEO for Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre

Co-production is one of SBIC’s core values and the Centre has invested time to asking young people what they want via focus groups and surveys. Their views will inform the Centre’s youth offer, including the look and feel of the space. It will be a space where young people feel at home, have real agency in the Centre’s development, as well as giving them opportunities to grow their self-confidence and social connectedness and enhance happiness and wellbeing.

It will make a lasting difference to young people like 14-year-old Mahfuz Ahmed.

“Through this project, I discovered strengths I never knew I had. I haven’t always been the best football player, but the coaches have taught me skills and knowledge on coaching which has given me a massive boost in my confidence, using my voice to be heard.”

Young people will not miss out while the SBIC’s renovations are underway, The Centre’s CEO Abu Shama has worked in partnership with local schools and community venues to make sure that every young person can continue to benefit from youth work until their brand-new Centre opens in autumn 2024.

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