Principles met

  • We will embrace innovation in how we work with local communities to drive positive change.
  • We will capture and ‘expand’ the experience and learning from individual projects and approaches in order to encourage broader application of co-operative principles within individual member Councils and across the Network.
  • In exploring new ways of meeting the priority needs of our communities we will encourage models, such as co-operatives and mutuals, which give greater influence and voice to staff and users. in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.

In March 2023, Sunderland City Council published the Digital Inclusion Plan which outlines three pillars relating to developing a Smart Digital City, Smart Digital Workforce and Smart Digital Residents.  The pillars have six shared priorities, building upon the Co-operative Council Values, with over 50 key actions to deliver.  To download a copy visit

Digital Inclusion landscape in Sunderland

In Sunderland it is estimated that 30,000 people have never been online, and a further 77,000 people are limited users (UK Consumer Digital Index 2022).  With a population size of 277,846 (Census 2021) this means that potentially 1 in 3 people in Sunderland are at risk or experiencing some form of digital exclusion. Some of the biggest indicators for digital exclusion in the city are unemployment, low income, older people, people with disabilities and low educational attainment. The probability of digital exclusion increases for those who may have addiction issues, experiencing domestic abuse, have English as a 2nd language, suffer from long term health conditions, live in poverty or are socially isolated.

Sunderland Community Digital Health Hubs

The UK Government awarded over £580,000 to the Council through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to address digital exclusion by tackling key challenges, such as, limited connectivity, lack of access to digital devices and skills, the increasing costs to go online, with the need to improve trust levels and accessibility.  22 trusted community partners joined a Delivery Partnership between the Council and Boldyn Networks to establish Community Digital Health Hubs across the city, with an aim to enhance digital inclusion and tackle health inequalities.

For further information contact: