Thank you - That's the message going out to Sunderland's army of volunteers as the city celebrates national Volunteers' Week.
The city is lighting landmarks including Northern Spire, Fulwell Mill, Seaburn Lighthouse, Keel Square and the National Trust owned Penshaw Monument in rainbow colours tonight (Monday 1 June) to mark the contribution made by its volunteers and say an official 'thank you' to all those involved.
Councillor John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: "Volunteers' Week is a great opportunity to say thank you to all our volunteers and to raise awareness of the volunteering opportunities available for anyone interested in volunteering.
"This year more than any, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our volunteers old and new. For some time now we've been lucky enough to have a really dedicated band of volunteers, who over the years have become the mainstay of our events, Active Sunderland and books at home programmes. Their contribution has undoubtedly helped make events like the Sunderland Airshow, and BIG events programme the huge success that they are.
"We've also been bowled over by the number of volunteers who have come forward to help out during the Covid pandemic and the tremendous efforts they've made.
"Little did we think when we sent out a flyer in March asking people to let us know if they were willing to help out or if they needed support, that we would have more than 1,000 volunteers come forward.
"Their help has been invaluable in helping us support the most vulnerable in our communities through the crisis, whether that's been delivering food parcels, checking on those who are shielding or helping people with their shopping.
"So far, we've seen 1052 people register to volunteer, 1007 volunteers matched to either a community group or an individual, 1116 people register for support and more than 700 residents receiving either one off or ongoing support .
“We hope they will continue to work with us to help support communities across the city for many years to come.
"It’s only right that we should celebrate the enormous contribution that all our volunteers have made to the life of our city over the last year. They embody Sunderland's reputation as a city where people look out for each other and we have reason to be extremely grateful to them."
Anyone interested in volunteering can do so through www.sunderland.gov.uk.volunteering