The search is on to find more than 3,000 volunteers who will be the welcoming face of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships - an exciting new multi-sport event that brings together some of the continent's leading sports.
Applications officially opened this morning with volunteers set to play an essential role in the experience offered to athletes, officials, media and spectators as they visit Glasgow and Scotland next year. Volunteers will support a wide range of functions from Spectator Services and Accreditation, to Transport and Media and much more.
The Glasgow 2018 Volunteer Programme was launched at Glasgow's iconic Kelvin Hall, which recently reopened following a £35 million redevelopment. The launch event was attended a team of Glasgow 2018 Volunteering Champions and Still Game star Sanjeev Kohli, who has been named as an official Volunteering Ambassador.
Thousands of people over the age of 16 are expected to express an interest in joining the volunteer team in what will be one of the most ambitious and inclusive volunteering programmes ever undertaken in Scotland, with the Glasgow 2018 volunteers set to be right at the heart of the inaugural European Championships.
Glasgow 2018 is committed to ensuring that the Volunteer Programme is open to all, building on the success of previous programmes delivered in the city including the Host City Volunteers and the Homeless World Cup. Full support will be given to those wanting to be part of the team regardless of their experience or current circumstances.
To be staged every four years, the European Championships will combine the existing European Championships of Athletics, Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon along with a new Golf team championships. The first edition will be held in 2018 in a unique sporting partnership between Host Cities Glasgow and Berlin.
This partnership will create a new event on the world stage elevating the status of European Champions and attracting a potential television audience of up to 1.03 billion across the continent, with a wider audience via digital platforms. Attendances across Glasgow 2018 are expected to be in the region of 250,000.
Applications will remain open up until 31 July 2017. A full list of criteria and Frequently Asked Questions is available at www.glasgow2018.com
Glasgow 2018 Championships Director Colin Hartley said: "The Glasgow 2018 European Championships promises to be a memorable event for the whole city and our volunteers will be at its heart. From assisting elite athletes at venues to providing a friendly and welcoming face to the thousands of visitors arriving during Championships time, the volunteers will play an absolutely vital role in ensuring Glasgow 2018 is a success.
"Glaswegians are renowned for their generosity and friendliness and these are valued which we aim to reflect in our volunteers. This will be one of the most inclusive volunteer programmes ever delivered so we want to hear from everyone regardless of their previous experience or current circumstances. There is a real opportunity for you to play your part in sporting history by applying to become a Glasgow 2018 volunteer."
Volunteers have performed key functions at many sporting events in Glasgow in recent years, including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games when the Clyde-siders and the Host City Volunteers put on a world-famous welcome for visitors.
Glasgow-based comedian and Still Game star Sanjeev Kohli, who has been named as an official Volunteering Ambassador for the Championships, is in no doubts that the city's welcoming and vibrant nature will shine through its volunteers.
Sanjeev said: "As a proud Glaswegian I am made up to see another major sporting event coming to Glasgow. I can't wait to see the spirit of 2014 return to our streets, stages and sporting venues.
"There is a genuine altruism in the people in Glasgow - we never see anybody lost or in trouble without offering help. I KNOW those values will be reflected in our volunteers.
"Glasgow crowds are the warmest & the most enthusiastic as well - I know this from personal experience - and the athletes are in for a treat. But just as important are the people behind the scenes welcoming visitors and making sure everything runs to plan.
"So to anybody thinking of applying to volunteer at Glasgow 2018 I say - get in amongst it!"
A nationwide marketing campaign was also launched today and features the faces and stories of our Volunteering Champions, a group of inspiring individuals with prior volunteering experience who will help to mentor and promote the benefits of volunteering.
Each of them has found their way into volunteering through different routes and for varying reasons - but all are united in their love for Glasgow.
Glasgow 2018 Volunteering Champion Stella Kyalikunda - who volunteered at last year's Homeless World Cup whilst homeless herself - is delighted to be able to share her story and help others fulfil their potentials, no matter their personal circumstances.
Stella said: "To give something back to the community through volunteering is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. I know that by volunteering I can make a positive impact on people's lives - just as they have helped me through my life. I am very proud to have been named as a Volunteering Champion for Glasgow 2018"
For Glasgow-born Jim Campbell it was the potential to utilise his skills in the building trade that compelled him to devote his time to volunteering. Since then Jim has worked with the equipment team at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow and even gave Usain Bolt a lift during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Volunteering Champion said: "Spending time at the World Gymnastics Championships was fantastic and I gained a first-hand insight into how these events work and how the athletes prepare. I enjoy using the skills I have to help others but volunteering is also a great way to pick up new experiences. You get to learn from the professionals and you are at the forefront of the event."
Around 3,000 athletes will travel to Scotland as part of an overall delegation of around 8,500 including officials, media and others. And with a potential television audience of 1.03 billion across Europe set to watch the action, Glasgow will again be in the spotlight with the event being covered by free-to-air broadcasters, including the BBC, across the continent.
The Glasgow 2018 European Championships will build on Glasgow and Scotland's reputation for hosting world-class sporting events including the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. Pre-registration for priority access to tickets currently available at www.glasgow2018.com for a limited time.
GLASGOW 2018 BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
1. The 2018 European Championships will be staged by the European Federations and the Host Cities of Glasgow and Berlin.
2.The Glasgow 2018 event will be held between 2nd and 12th August and the European Athletics Championships will be between 7th and 12th August in Berlin.
3.The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the umbrella body for Europe free-to-air channels, will be the broadcast partner for the Championships. There is a potential television audience of around 1.03 billion for the event with many more viewers across multiple digital platforms.
4.Around 3,000 athletes will travel to Scotland as part of a total delegation of around 8,500 including officials, media and others. A further 1,500 athletes will compete in Berlin.
5.Berlin's Olympic Stadium will be the venue for the European Athletics Championships with the road races and race walking events held throughout the city.
6. The European Aquatic Championships will take place at Glasgow's Tollcross International Swimming Centre, with diving taking place at Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool, open water swimming being staged at Loch Lomond and synchronised swimming at Scotstoun Sports Campus.
7. Four European Cycling Championships will be staged in Glasgow and its metropolitan area. Track, Road, Mountain Bike and BMX will attract 650 of Europe's top names to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, the streets of Glasgow and a new world championship and Olympic standard BMX track to be built in the Knightswood area of the city.
8. The European Golf Team Championships will take place at the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course in Perth & Kinross. There will be three European Team Golf Championships: Men's Team Championship, Women's Team Championship and Mixed Team Championship.
9. The European Artistic Gymnastics Men's and Women's Championships will be staged at The SSE Hydro, the venue for the 2015 FIG World Gymnastics Championships.
10. The European Championships for both Rowing and Triathlon will both be staged at Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire.
11. Glasgow 2018's official partner level sponsors are Glasgow City Council and Scottish Government. For more information on Glasgow 2018's full sponsor family, please visit http://www.glasgow2018.com/the-championships/official-sponsors.
YEAR OF YOUNG PEOPLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
1. The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government's series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
2. The Year of Young People (YOYP) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.
3. Central to YOYP will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
4. Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YOYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what's happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
5. The Year of Young People will have six themes - Participation, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Equality and Discrimination, Enterprise and Regeneration, and Culture - which were developed in co-production with young people themselves.
6. Further information on what's happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.