Search begins for 350 Sunderland Tall Ships volunteers: How you could be one

The launch of the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 volunteer programme.
The launch of the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 volunteer programme.

A wonderful chance for the public to be a part of Tall Ships Sunderland has been launched.

The search has started to find up to 350 volunteers and each of them will play a vital role in making sure the city’s 2018 spectacle runs smoothly.

Project Officer Ian Flannery explains more to the audience at Sunderland College.

Project Officer Ian Flannery explains more to the audience at Sunderland College.

A huge variety of volunteer jobs is on offer.

• Event Support workers will get a high profile chance to help run the media, crew and volunteer centres.

• Ship Liaison Officers will be the key point of contact for the ship’s captains and crew. They make sure crews have everything they need from the moment they arrive right through to when they say goodbye to Sunderland.

• Event Coordinators will welcome visitors, deal with site and event information, help the ships’ crews with activities, and guide guests and media.

The experience that people will get from volunteering for a large-scale event will be brilliant. It will be fun. People will have a wonderful time and it is something that they can be proud of, that they are part of the event

Victoria French

• Technical Liaison Officers must be technically skilled. They would be part of the ship greeting party as they arrive at The Port of Sunderland. This role will be the first point of contact for ship’s urgent or technical issues.

Victoria French, head of Events at Sunderland City Council, said volunteers would be “integral” to the success of the event. She added: “There is a raft of roles that we are looking for.”

And it’s not just the people of Wearside who are being urged to apply for positions.

Victoria added: “We know we will attract people from Sunderland which is great but also people who have volunteer on other events throughout the North East and beyond, and other Tall Ships events.

A huge audience learns more about the volunteer opportunities linked to The Tall Ships Races.

A huge audience learns more about the volunteer opportunities linked to The Tall Ships Races.

“The experience that people will get from volunteering for a large-scale event will be brilliant. It will be fun.

“People will have a wonderful time and it is something that they can be proud of, that they are part of the event.”

Coun John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said the role of volunteers was “massively important. This is what makes or breaks an event - to have a lot of people who are keen on volunteering, keen on getting involved with the tall ships project.

“We are looking forward to welcoming people from across our region but in particular, people from Sunderland who want to be part of this huge event.”

Programme volunteer Aimee Palin.

Programme volunteer Aimee Palin.

The search for volunteers was launched at Bede Campus in Sunderland College yesterday and dozens of people turned up to find out more.

Ian Flannery, The Tall Ships Races project officer for Sunderland, said there had already been 150 expressions of interest in volunteer roles. “That is a really good indicator of how things are going to go,” he told delegates at the launch.

But he urged everyone interested in the event to get the message out as far as they could - that Tall Ships Sunderland is the event to be at.

“Tell everyone about it,” he said. “We need to spread the word.”

He said the expected 1.5m visitors during the Tall Ships visit showed the scale of the spectacle Sunderland was envisaging.

The four days of the Sunderland leg of the 2018 races, will last from July 11 to 14 next year.

For further information about event and how to get involved, go to www.tallshipssunderland.com or follow the Twitter page @TallShipsSund or on Facebook at TallShipsRacesSunderland.

AIMEE LEADS THE WAY

Ultra keen Aimee Palin has become one of the first people to sign up as a Sunderland Tall Ships volunteer.

The 21-year-old was at the launch of the volunteer programme at Sunderland College to hear more - but she’s already determined to play an important role.

“I am very excited about it,” said Aimee from Seaham. “I don’t know what I will be doing yet but I would quite like to be a ship liaison officer.”

Aimee is no stranger to volunteering. She has helped all summer with events run by the Sunderland Active community sports network.

She said: “I have been working with Sunderland Council and it was suggested that I should do this next summer. It’s very exciting and I would encourage other people to get involved as well.2

HOW TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER

* If you’re keen, register your interest at www.tallshipssunderland.com.

* Applicants will be interviewed and asked which type of role they’re interested in.

* People will be assigned to their roles and given a full training programme.

* Volunteers for next year’s fun will be known as Event Makers.

* The opportunities include Event Support, Event Coordinator, Ship Liaison Officer and Technical Liaison Officer.

* Everyone who becomes a Tall Ships volunteer will get full training.

* They will be trained to a standard of Level 1 Certifate in Volunteering.

* They’ll also get the chance to train to Level 2 Customer Services.

* Benefits will include the experience of working on a major international event.

* It will also be something they could put on their CV.