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Volunteer guides back in action for New Annual

Dedicated City of Newcastle volunteers have hit the streets for the first time since COVID-19 to offer a welcoming point of contact for visitors during the New Annual festival.

The passionate NEWCrew members were forced to take a break from their duties when the pandemic resulted in the postponement of events across the city.

But the volunteers are thrilled to finally be back in action as ambassadors for Newcastle during the City’s 10-day flagship cultural festival, having been debriefed on how to provide COVID safe assistance to visitors.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the NEWCrew program provides an opportunity to engage with visitors in a meaningful way, ensuring they have a memorable experience in our beautiful city.

“NEWCrew volunteers play an invaluable role in the delivery of events in the city, offering practical support to welcome visitors, answer their questions and direct them to various facilities while also sharing their knowledge about the event or the city itself,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Since the NEWCrew program was established in 2017 volunteers have given hundreds of hours of their time to act as ambassadors for Newcastle, ensuring we build on our reputation as gracious hosts to all who visit our region.

“It’s fantastic to see these dedicated volunteers getting back out and about during New Annual and I thank them for all their support of our flagship cultural festival.”

Newcastle resident Sue Slade began volunteering with NEWCrew around three years ago with a desire to keep busy and give something back to the community.

The retired disability worker, who also has a background in the travel industry, is passionate about sharing her knowledge and love of Newcastle with others.

“I love Newcastle and I’m a real people person, so it is not hard talking about our city to visitors,” Sue said.

“COVID put everything on hold and it’s been a long 12 months since we’ve been able to volunteer with NEWCrew, but it’s great to be back now to catch up with some of the other volunteers and be a part of New Annual.

“The festival’s program looks amazing, I’m really excited about being a part of it, telling people what is on offer and hopefully encouraging them to come back to Newcastle for other festivals, events or holidays.”

There will be plenty going on during the final weekend of the festival, with a full schedule of ticketed events and more than 20 free activities on offer including a sunrise meditation, a taste of France at The Station, a celebration of printmaking in Newcastle, Indigenous language, dance and storytelling sessions at The Pavilion of Sand and hands-on workshops with the Artist Open Studio Trail.

To find out more, book your ticket or secure you spot at a workshop visit www.newannual.com/

A range of opportunities for volunteering with City of Newcastle can be found at https://newcastle.nsw.gov.au/community/get-involved/volunteer-with-us.

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