The Olympics, volunteering and the dreaded ‘L’ word

That’s it! With a wonderful late flourish from Andy Murray at the US open last week, our golden Summer of Sport is over! I‘ve been as thrilled as the rest of country by the great achievements at both the Olympics and Paralympics (some I was even lucky enough to witness some first hand), but now the fanfare is dying down, like many I am being forced to consider that ubiquitous ‘L’ word – that’s right,‘legacy’.

While the politicians are facing questions about the sporting legacy of the games, especially for young people, what I want to know now is how we can sustain this new enthusiasm and respect for volunteering and volunteers.

A lot has already been said and written about the ‘Games Makers’, the army of 70,000 volunteers that helped crowds get around the Olympic park, drove athletes and officials between venues, and took on many other duties so that the games ran smoothly. Sebastian Coe said they stood ‘among the heroes of London 2012’. What I‘d love now is to see this warmth and appreciation for this group harnessed so we can encourage others to volunteer in communities.

It seems fitting then that last week I attended the launch of #WeWillGather, a great new initiative by Dan Thompson (and Lloyd Davis and Sophie Collard), who had such an impact with #riotcleanup last summer. For anyone who’s interested in giving even a little bit of time, it’s a great resource.

There are over 20,000 volunteers within the UK online centres network so I’ve seen first hand just how huge an impact they can have – our network simply wouldn’t run without them. This is why I hope, with the help of great resources such as the Do it website and Volunteering England, the volunteering spirit that has inspired us this summer will carry on supporting communities all over the country.

PS If you ever feel like saying thank you to the UK online centres volunteers you can post something on our Facebook wall and at least some of the 20,000 will see it.

One thought on “The Olympics, volunteering and the dreaded ‘L’ word

  1. Pingback: Three cheers for volunteers | Helen Milner

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