Phil Andrew and Sharon Appleby at Keel Square, Sunderland City Centre

BID: Sunderland businesses can benefit from relaunched partnership

The opportunity for Sunderland city centre businesses to save money across a whole host of areas is now available, thanks to a renewed partnership between Sunderland BID and Great Annual Savings Group.

Both organisations are building on their existing relationship to encourage companies to sign up with GAS, which can help them save money in everything from utilities to payment services and insurance.

And now BID Chief Executive, Sharon Appleby, is hoping businesses will take advantage of the opportunity and reduce their costs.

“Nobody needs reminding about the tough time that businesses have had over the past 18 months,” said Sharon.

“So anything that can help them reduce costs should be very welcome. We have a long standing relationship with Great Annual Savings Group and now we want to build on that and help more businesses to benefit.”

Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) has more than 11,000 business customers across the UK and Ireland and can offer procurement and efficiency consultancy for free to any business in Sunderland.

The company has been a sponsor of a number of Sunderland BID initiatives, including of the 100 Quick Wins clean-up campaign run in conjunction with Sunderland College and Sunderland Council.

The company is heavily invested in the city and is Principal Partner and front of shirt sponsor for SAFC.

Phil Andrew, Partnerships Director at Great Annual Savings Group, said: “We are excited to strengthen our relationship with more city centre businesses and with the BID itself.

“The last few years have seen us continue our growth and we can now offer businesses more advice than ever.

“Our time and our quoting service is free, so it’s a perfect opportunity for business owners to investigate where they could make some all-important savings as we all look to bounce back from the challenges of lockdown.”

Anyone who would like to find out more about how GAS can help them can visit or contact the Sunderland BID rep, Clair Cogdon, at [email protected] or 0191 500 5664.

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.