Volunteer guides do the city proud

20 Nov 2017

Volunteer city guides recruited by Newcastle City Council will make their debut welcoming visitors at this week's inaugural Newcastle 500 event.

Around 40 volunteers from all walks of life will greet and guide visiting Supercars fans and newcomers at future events in a bid to make visits to Newcastle more memorable through their smiling welcome and personalised service.

NEWcrew volunteers Neeti Pandya, Helen Griffin and Suzanne Morrison.

The "NEWcrew" initiative, a partnership with TAFE NSW's Hamilton Campus, was established to showcase the city's growing attractions amid Newcastle's boom revitalisation.

First-time volunteer Helen Griffin, from Bar Beach, said crowds on the Bathers Way and burgeoning local industries, such as medical research and tertiary education, had prompted her to put her hand up.

"I'm recently retired and wanted to give back to the community and it's time that we started to promote Newcastle to all the visitors that come to our fair city," said the former finance specialist, who has enjoyed a successful career as a partner in a construction firm.

"I thought volunteering for the NEWcrew team was a good way to get involved and talk positively about Newcastle.

"I have watched the numbers of visitors to our coastline increase noticeably over the past few years, especially since they built the Memorial Walk, and it's just wonderful to see all the development in the city.

"I want to tell visitors about our beautiful beaches, the magnificent harbour and vibrancy of the city and also what's happening with the vibrant arts and theatre hub in the city."

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the city was proud to be able to launch the NewCrew program.

"This volunteer program provides an opportunity to engage with visitors in a meaningful way, and I'd like to thank all the volunteers on behalf of the city," Councillor Nelmes said.

"So far we've had more than 100 very enthusiastic people of all ages and from all walks of life trained and prepared to put the best possible face on our great city.

"Newcastle's revitalisation will generate more tourism and we're doing our bit as a local government to drive increased visits with infrastructure and service upgrades, big events and also initiatives like the NEWcrew."

Raymond Terrace resident Suzanne Morrison said she volunteered out of fear of missing out during a time of rapid development.

"This is such a vibrant city," she said, "and I want to be part of it."

All of the guides completed an on-line course in customer service, tourism and events run by TAFE NSW.