Friday, 25 January 2013

London 2012 Games Makers called upon to volunteer at local sports clubs - The Guardian

After admitting there was not enough capacity to cope with a surge of interest in playing sport following the Games, key London 2012 figures hope a new scheme to re-engage Olympic volunteers will help fill the gap.

Join In, an independent trust with funding from the Cabinet Office, will call on the much celebrated 70,000 Games Makers and others inspired by them to dig out their distinctive purple and red uniforms and volunteer at local sports clubs.

Successive surveys following the Olympics have found a short-term spike in interest among young people in taking up sport but a lack of resources to cope with demand.

Join In chairman, Charles Allen, who was head of nations and regions at Locog, said the new scheme would match up willing volunteers to local opportunities. Research by Join In shows only one in six Games Makers currently volunteer with local clubs, despite 82% having an interest in sport.

Almost three-quarters of sports clubs say they need more volunteers to match demand. Join In will host events and open days between 27 July, a year on from when the Games began, and 9 September 9, the anniversary of the Paralympics closing ceremony.

"There are a lot of facilities out there, but often they don't have the people to open the club, make the tea, maintain the facilities. We want coaches as well but we also need the basic stuff there to help these clubs open their doors and attract more people," said Allen, who was also mayor of the Athlete's Village during the Games.

"The smaller clubs just don't tend to have the people or the resources. People will reflect that a year ago, the kids did turn up and there wasn't the people to open the facilities or there was long waiting lists. That's something we can genuinely help with."

Comedian Eddie Izzard, who helped recruit the Games Makers and was a familiar sight at Olympic venues in a purple and red uniform, said he was convinced the spirit engendered by the them could be replicated in clubs around country.

"Whether it can go on forever and ever I'm not sure, I think that's down to whoever is in charge of trying to make it happen. But there is a good chance of getting the volunteers into shape so that we can do so much better than we've done before. The uniforms are still out there, they still mean something," he said.

2012 was more than just the best sporting event ever staged in the UK, he added. "If we keep igniting and re-boosting that spirit we've got a good chance of doing something."

Allen said there would be an emphasis on maintaining the diversity of ages and backgrounds that were a feature of the Games Makers programme and believed the Olympics had helped rebrand volunteering for a new generation.

Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman who has taken on a part-time role as the government's legacy adviser, will come under pressure to deliver on the promise of using the Games to inspire more people to play sport.

"Behind every athlete is a legion of volunteers who have helped them on their way," he said. "Initiatives such as Join In will help create a platform for local clubs to promote themselves and attract new volunteers to help us deliver on our vision to inspire a generation."

David Cameron said: "Of all the highlights of our 2012 summer of sport, the volunteers were perhaps the most memorable. We all want to harness that spirit and ensure that what happened last summer is the beginning of a great volunteering legacy for our country."

No comments:

Post a Comment