Betty Ball is awesome, even if she’s from South Shields.

When she’s not presenting the Friday Breakfast Show on Sunderland’s community radio station Spark, she’s busy being a model, or saving kids’ lives as a lifeguard.

“Sunderland is an amazing city, filled with everything – and that’s what Speak Up Sunderland is all about. Being part of the team is nothing more than fun.  It’s very local, funny, relevant and random – which I think is a great selling point.”


Suck it in, Stevie!

He might have lived in Sunderland all his life, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get lost on the roads.

He’s a freelance DJ, and you can hear his voice on Sunday’s The Evening Show on Sun FM in Sunderland, and on his own funky music show Funk Soul Brother on Spark.

“Sunderland is packed full of stories and characters.  Even by just scratching the surface, we find so much to talk about. We really feel that many groups and organisations benefit from having their voices on our podcast – and we want to highlight those stories, the unheard voices.”


Jay is a freelance audio producer based in Sunderland.

As well as producing Speak Up Sunderland, he hosts the weekly arts radio programme ArtyParti, is the Director of Solo Arts CIC, and teaches audio and radio production at the University of Sunderland.

Jay’s production credits include the New York gold award-winning audio drama SeaBurn, and the 2018 BBC Radio 4 documentary Drawing in the Dark.

Katie Baggott - S.O.S.


Katie Baggott is the founder of S.O.S. - a project in partnership with Speak Up Sunderland.

“Sunderland, Opinion and Stories” is a website focused on mental health stigma and awareness, and it’s launching in May 2019.

  • A space where people can explore other people's experiences of mental health in an inspirational and positive way.

  • A platform where mental health stigma and discrimination is openly discussed.

  • A showcase of the real stories behind local and international mental health campaigners, organisations and charities.



James is our resident reporter. As a freelance journalist, who’s worked with Sky News, Global, and the BBC, he has a passion for storytelling.

He’s heading up our Stars of Sunderland project, celebrating the work of people who make a real difference in our city of Sunderland, and make us proud to be residents of this city.