SUNDERLAND WILL EXPRESS CIVIC THANKS to the growing army of volunteers and 'event makers' who help make the city's ever widening programme of events and walking programme activities possible.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, and Sunderland City Council Assistant Director Culture and Events, Victoria French, welcomed some of the volunteers to a celebratory event at the civic centre.
Sunderland City Council's Active Sunderland and Events Team has more than 250 dedicated, committed and enthusiastic volunteer event makers and volunteer walk leaders who assist with the delivery of the annual programme of city events, and weekly programme of active Sunderland Wellness Walking Programme walks.
Volunteer 'event makers' meet and greet people to the city's annual programme of cultural, sporting, musical and community events which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sunderland every year. They also assist with registration, promotion, marshalling, activity delivery and even being mascots!
Volunteer 'walk leaders' deliver the weekly led programme of Active Sunderland Wellness Walking Programme health and Nordic walks which have approximately 10,000 walker attendances per year.
Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly: "This was our opportunity to thank all our volunteers and event makers for being such champions for our city and communities.
"They have helped us deliver the weekly led Active Sunderland Wellness Walking Programme for the last nine years, and some of the largest events Sunderland has seen in recent years with their hard work and dedication and continue to do so.
"It really has been an amazing year so far for our Sunderland Events team, with a range of new events being delivered citywide as well as some of the city's old favourites."
Assistant Director Culture and Events, Victoria French: "We really couldn't deliver this programme of events and walks without our dedicated, committed and enthusiastic team of Event Makers and Volunteers, and we would like to once again say a massive 'Thank You' to them all."
Among the volunteer Event Makers is Trish Bradford, 52, from Tunstall who said: "Volunteering has become part of my life, meeting like-minded people, enjoying giving back to my now adopted city, and making events happen.
" I have learnt so much and have gained confidence all thanks to Volunteering. Volunteering is truly inclusive and shows how diverse our city is and how the Mackems can put on world-class events thanks to their dedicated volunteer team, who actively promote and encourage more volunteers to come on board. We're dead canny, and not just volunteers."
Her colleague Liz Highmore, 66, from Castletown added: "Volunteering means a great deal to me - it gives me purpose, challenges, the opportunity to meet lots of people, to learn and to have fun.
" I have to say that becoming an event maker is a life enhancing experience - even in the rain."
Duncan from Cleadon Village said: "Initially I volunteered to lead one walk per week but found as time went on that the saying 'the more you put in, the more you get out' is definitely true.
"I now volunteer at various other events organised by the team because I'm always made to feel so welcome, and was involved with the World Transplant Games."
If you are interested in volunteering with Sunderland City Council, please visit: www.sunderland.gov.uk/volunteering for details of volunteering opportunities council wide and how to apply.