Sunderland is celebrating the hundreds of local people who give up their spare time to get involved in their local communities.
Annual, national Volunteer Week 1-7 June is the opportunity to recognise the contribution made by volunteers across the country and say an official ‘thank you’ to all those involved.
Sunderland City Council’s Active Sunderland and Events Team’s alone have more than 300 volunteers who help the city stage major events such as the tourism award winning Tall Ships and annual Sunderland Airshow, greeting visitors to the city and helping to make them feel welcome.
Volunteers are also involved in regular community events such as the annual Sunderland BIG Bike Ride this weekend and BIG Walk on 30 June, along with the weekly programme of wellness walks and runs helping to marshal the courses and lead those taking part.
Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “National Volunteer Week is a great opportunity for us all to say thank you for their efforts on our behalf, and also to raise awareness of the various volunteering opportunities available for people interested in getting involved.
“Volunteering is a rewarding experience for people helping them to meet new people and build up their skills, experience and self-confidence.
“I know that massive contribution volunteers make to our events programme and would personally like to thank each and every one of them for their enthusiasm and commitment to our city and their communities.”
One such person is Jan Leach, 71, from Houghton who is a volunteer administrator for the Wellness Walking Programme and an Event Maker for the events programme.
Jan said: “Volunteering is a great way to meet people and feel that you are giving something back to your community.
“Community is important and I think we should all try to contribute in some way, however small.
“Volunteering has given me a reason to get out of bed some days, and helped me make some great new friends.”