The role of South Tyneside’s army of volunteers has been celebrated with a special event.
Around 100 people who give up their free time to help others were invited to a lunch and afternoon of entertainment as a way of saying thank you for all that they do.
It is thought there are around 2,000 volunteers in South Tyneside running a variety of groups and services supporting residents in the borough.
The celebration event was arranged by South Tyneside Volunteers Co-Ordinators Group, which is supported by Inspire South Tyneside.
It was attended by the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Ken Stephenson and Coun Fay Cunningham, lead member for the voluntary sector, partnerships and co-operatives.
Coun Stephenson said: “This event has shown just some of the brilliant work that is undertaken by volunteers in South Tyneside.
In these particularly hard times when the council’s funding is being cut we need our volunteers now more than ever. Without them a lot of services wouldn’t existCoun Fay Cunningham
“They give up their time for nothing and without them it is fair to say we would be lost.
“We have over 2,000 different volunteers in South Tyneside, but that number could be a lot higher - it is a phenomenal number.”
The event, with music from they Dam Jammers, was held at the Customs House and organised as part of National Volunteers Week.
Coun Cunningham said: “This event is an opportunity for South Tyneside to say thank you to all the volunteers, as without them we wouldn’t have the services we have here in the borough.
“There’s the work of volunteers in community centre, uniformed services, churches, voluntary groups - the list is endless.
“And in these particularly hard times when the council’s funding is being cut we need our volunteers now more than ever. Without them a lot of services wouldn’t exist. They are our unsung heroes.”
As part of the development of the South Tyneside Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Strategy, a single overarching organisation called Inspire South Tyneside has been formed.
This provides support for groups wanting to set up a new group or charity and disseminates information, advice and guidance around governance, funding and volunteering. It also represents on behalf of the sector at a number of strategic meetings.
The event in South Tyneside was one of hundreds held across the UK to thank volunteers during National Volunteer Week which ran from June 1-7.