“I love my city,” volunteers are shouting about GO! Southampton’s all-new Welcome Volunteer Programme

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31 May 2024

As the summer tourism season gets fully underway, GO! Southampton has rolled out its all-new Welcome Volunteer Programme, deploying a group of local enthusiasts who are on hand to give visitors to the city a warm welcome.

The scheme is being run by the city’s Business Improvement District, supported by ABP Southampton. Its aim is to enhance the cruise passenger welcome when visitors arrive in the city. Volunteers will help with information and directions on where to go and what to see, showcasing the best that Southampton has to offer.

Among the first to volunteer was Yana Shkuropat, who only moved to Southampton in December. Yana has embraced city life and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. For Yana, getting involved in the programme was a ‘no-brainer’. She said: “I’m a people person through and through, so when I saw this opportunity I knew it was for me. It gives me the chance to talk about my new favourite city and meet new people too. I know what it’s like to be new to a city, so being able help others is really rewarding. I’m so passionate about Southampton and now I get to share that.”

Yana lived in Guildford before coming to Southampton and says she feels more at home in the city that she’s lived in for six months than the 17 years she spent in Guildford. When asked what her favourite thing was about the city, she said: “That’s easy, it’s the people! Everyone here is so welcoming and nice. But there is also just so much to do. And the best part is that so much of it is free. The library, the art galleries, or even taking walk through the beautiful parks.”

Yana also loves the diversity of the city, “I’ve been to yoga classes, African drumming sessions and salsa dance classes. I have a ton of recommendations.”

Another volunteer is Lenka Fremerova. Originally from Prague, Lenka moved to the city six years ago. Coming from a historic city herself, Lenka fell in love with Southampton’s rich heritage. She said: “There is so much history: the Titanic, D-Day links, Jane Austen and the Mayflower pilgrims to name just a few. In Prague we have a big tourism draw, and helping those visitors always gave me a boost. I can do that here too.”

Lenka is looking forward to helping people who might be visiting for a short time only and are keen to make the most of their time in Southampton. “I want to make their stay more enjoyable and memorable, point them in the right direction with smile and put a smile on their faces too.”

Executive Director of GO! Southampton, Stephen Manion, said: “We understand that it can be challenging for people who might only get to spend a day in Southampton to know where to go. Our volunteers are here to provide an informative and friendly welcome to the city.

“We want to ensure that visitors see Southampton at its best. We want people to see our museums, galleries and the city’s rich history as well as our fantastic shops and eateries.”

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