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'Test Run' for Host City Voluteers at Glasgow Mela

May 13th 2014 

An army of volunteers recruited to welcome visitors to the Commonwealth Games will be given a test run at Glasgow’s Mela festival.

Up to 1,500 Host City Volunteers are being enlisted to provide the warmest of welcomes during the Games. They will help visitors to navigate around the city, provide information on the sports programme, Live Zones, and the many cultural activities Glasgow will have on offer from July 23-August 3.

However, more than 100 of those volunteers have also been selected as friendly faces for Glasgow Mela, which takes place six weeks earlier in Kelvingrove Park.

The event is Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival and is expected to attract around 35,000 visitors from all over the globe over two days. Glasgow Life is leading on the Host City Volunteers project and also stages the Glasgow Mela every year.

Councillor Soryia Siddique, Chair of Glasgow Mela’s organising committee, said: “The Mela festival is one of the city’s biggest annual events and perfectly represents the rich mix of cultural diversity in Glasgow. We will welcome performers, their supporters, and visitors from all over the world to Kelvingrove Park on June 7th and 8th.

“What better way to introduce the new Host City Volunteers to their roles ahead of the Commonwealth Games than by involving them in Glasgow Mela. These volunteers will represent the heart and soul of Glasgow and I’m sure they will be a great addition to the Mela festival, providing a warm welcome to those attending.”

Rebecca Stewart, from Drumchapel in Glasgow, has signed up to be a Host City Volunteer. The 16-year-old said: “I was desperate to get involved in the Commonwealth Games in some way because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I might never get the chance again.
“I spotted an advert at college to become a Host City Volunteer and applied straight away. When the chance came up to volunteer at the Mela festival too I jumped at it. I’ve never been to the festival but I like learning about the cultures of different countries, and so I’m really looking forward to being part of it.”

Mariah Zierk was born in Glasgow and moved back to the city centre in March after spending 14 years in America. The 47-year-old jumped at the chance to volunteer.
She said: “I’m most looking forward to interacting with all walks of people, talking to their children, and having fun outdoors.
“It’s going to be an eventful and exciting summer in Glasgow as there is so much happening. Visitors are going to have a great time at Glasgow Mela festival and we’re here to help them enjoy themselves.”

Glasgow Mela is now in its 24th consecutive year and is Europe’s longest running free multi-cultural event. Organisers Glasgow Life are convinced this year’s event will be the biggest and best yet, with a host of talented performers travelling from many countries including India, Pakistan, Cyprus and Turkey, to entertain across three stages.

Headline acts include world famous bagpipe outfit Red Hot Chilli Pipers and multi-award winning singer Jaz Dhami , who will both appear on Saturday 7th June.

Other headliners include Dhol Foundation, the renowned London band who performed at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, and bhangra sensation Sukshinder Shinda who will both entertain on the Sunday.

Kelvingrove Park’s historic bandstand will also be introduced to Glasgow Mela for the first time following its £2 million revamp, and some exciting international artists will perform on the 90 year old stage over both days.

The volunteer programme is part of Host City Glasgow – a three-year project, led by Glasgow Life to help enhance the potential impact of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on civic pride, volunteering legacy, and communities in the host city.
 
As the host city, Glasgow is looking to maximise opportunities for local people to feel connected with, and play an active part in, delivery of the Games. Volunteers can still sign up until May 30th. For more information phone 0141 287 8919 or email hostcityvolunteers@glasgowlife.org.uk