Sunderlands volunteer army of event makers are preparing to welcome thousands of music fans into the city next month.
The Spice Girls take to the stage at the Stadium of Light on the evening of Thursday 6 June, heralding the return of the stadium and the city as a major international venue for live music.
With almost 50,000 music fans travelling to the city from all over the UK and Ireland, many for the first time, Sunderland's 'event-makers' who welcomed people from all over the world to events such as the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 are on standby to help visitors enjoy their stay as much as possible.
The volunteers are drawn from across the community, all sharing the same enthusiasm and love of the city, and all supported and trained to help use their own individual skills and talents to ‘meet and greet’ people visiting Sunderland.
The Spice Girls concert which also features international music star Jess Glynne, is supported by Sunderland City Council. It will be the twentieth concert held at the Stadium of Light, which are estimated to have generated £80 million pounds into the local economy.
The Event Makers will be on hand around the stadium to guide people to their correct turnstiles, and across the city centre to help visitors to find their way to Sunderland many cultural attractions, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.
On the same evening of the concert, thousands more visitors are also expected in the city centre, as football fans gather in pubs and clubs to watch England' s international football team play in the inaugural UEFA Nations League against the Netherlands
One of volunteer event makers recruited by Sunderland City Council is Liz Highmore, 66, from Castletown who said: "I’m not a native of the city but have lived here for 28 years and love Sunderland, and became an ‘event maker’ to help share that enthusiasm with our visitors.
"I was always keen to get more involved in the community and first volunteered to help at one of the city’s sporting events and have just carried on.
"I’m not going to the Spice Girls concert myself but really looking forward to meeting those who are when they arrive in the city, and helping them to enjoy their stay with us as much as we can.”
Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, Patrick Melia said: "It’s great to see Sunderland re-establishing itself as a destination on the international and national music tour map, with the Spice Girls taking to the stage at the Stadium of Light.
"We've been delighted to work with our business partners at Sunderland Football Club to help make this possible, with major outdoor events such as these bringing tens of thousands of visitors into our city, and millions of pounds into our local economy.
" Our volunteer event makers are part of that process, and I'd like to thank them all for being such champions for our city and communities, providing all our visitors with a warm Sunderland welcome and helping them make the most of their stay with us.”
VOLUNTEER EVENT MAKERS: Sunderland's team of volunteer 'event makers' are preparing to welcome thousands of music fans from all over the country into the city, to enjoy the Spice Girls concert at the Stadium of Light on Thursday 6 June