An army of 500 volunteers is being recruited to give fans a “warm Liverpool welcome” during the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.
Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool are hoping that hundreds of people will give their services when the biggest musical event of the year comes to the city.
However, this news has not been welcomed by everybody with some locals criticising the calls for volunteers instead of paid roles.
This comes after the official handover ceremony when the mayor of Turin, Sindaco di Torino handed the ceremonial Eurovision key to Joanne Anderson, his Liverpool counterpart.
Liverpool was selected to host the contest as the European Broadcasting Union has deemed Ukraine unsafe due to the ongoing war.
The volunteering roles have been created after a flood of requests from people wishing to get involved.
Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, Trade Unions Congress regional secretary Jay McKenna said: “Some of these roles appear to amount to what we would see as paid work.
“Volunteering has a role in society but in a cost-of-living-crisis, we are asking people to do roles and responsibilities in what looks and smells like a job.”
Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “We have been inundated with requests from people who want to get involved and be part of the warm Liverpool welcome we are renowned for across the globe.
“There is a dedicated team of people working hard behind the scenes with the ambition and determination to stage an unforgettable Eurovision which will do the UK and Ukraine proud.
“Our volunteers will play a vital role in helping us achieve this.”
Volunteers will be placed in the City centre, Liverpool ONE, the Pier Head and transport hubs but not in the arena itself.
Culture Liverpool says it is looking for a diverse and inclusive team with a blend of local and knowledge of the Ukrainian language and culture.
When the appeal for volunteers was announced twitter users reacted angrily saying that it is wrong to ask people to work for free in the current economic climate.
One user said: “This is not a charity…People deserve to be paid.”
Another added: “We’re in a cost of living crisis and people can barely afford to eat and heat their homes and you’re expecting people to work for free.”
While another twitter user said: “You’re spending like 20 million to put on a glitzy show when there is a cost of living crisis where people can’t afford to eat and you want to use some unemployed people to work for free?”
However, not everyone is against the idea of volunteering.
One of those hopeful volunteer applicants is Keith, 24, who told MerseyNewsLive: “The vibe is fantastic, it’s (Eurovision) got a good crowd that comes with it, I think it would just be so enjoyable.”
You can apply to be a volunteer here: https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/eurovision-2023/