This week, Commissioner, Kim McGuinness visited two of the Wearside groups who were awarded funding from her Community Fund to tackle hate crime and support mental health services.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the Commissioner visited Sunderland Bangladesh Centre who received a £2,000 grant to support their ongoing work in the local community tackling hate crime.

She also met with staff at Washington Mind and awarded the charity £1,972 to provide female mental health peer support group sessions and support early intervention.

Affiliated with national charity Mind, the Wearside-based branch provides a range of services to people across the region including therapies, peer support, crisis care and employment.

Commissioner McGuinness said: “It was great to see first-hand how these two groups are making a real difference on Wearside.

“It was a pleasure to meet the teams at Washington Mind and the Sunderland Bangladesh Centre. We’ll be staying in touch with them over the coming months and I look forward to hearing the positive impact that their projects have made in the local community.

“We know that in Sunderland and Washington, people look out for their neighbours and these two projects focus on tackling hate crime, reducing anti-social behaviour and making sure residents feel safer and more secure, which is crucial.”

The Commissioner’s Community Fund awards grants to neighbourhoods and communities across Wearside, Tyneside and Northumberland who run activities or projects that support tackling hate crime, reducing anti-social behaviour and increasing community confidence.