The Prime Minister yesterday recognised the huge contribution made by London 2012 volunteers, including more than 70,000 Games Makers and Host City volunteers, by presenting them with a Big Society Award. This is the 50th award given to individuals or groups who help to build a bigger, stronger society.
The London 2012 volunteers became one of the most visual symbols of the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, as they helped visitors from the UK and abroad at Games venues and around city centres across the country. They had each given up to three days of their time to train as a volunteer and part of their summer to help make the Games a success.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“This summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games showed us that with belief and determination this country can achieve great things. Of all the great moments this summer, from the amazing athletes to the magical ceremonies, the standing ovation in the Olympic Stadium for the volunteers stands out. Tens of thousands of people gave their time and their passion and without them this great British summer would not have been possible. I’ve spent three years trying to explain the Big Society, and the Games Makers did it beautifully in just three weeks. That’s why I am delighted to recognise the contribution of all the Olympic and Paralympic volunteers by presenting them with my 50th Big Society Award.
“Since I launched the Big Society Awards in 2010, I’ve invited all 50 winners to Number 10 and they have been an amazing testament to what people do up and down the country to make their communities better places to live. From small community groups who have come together to revitalise their local area, to big companies that have used their creativity to help tackle social problems, these awards show that everyone can play a part in building a bigger, stronger society. I hope that these winners inspire even more people to get involved and I look forward to celebrating the contribution of many more Big Society Award winners.”
Commenting on the award, LOCOG Director of HR Jean Tomlin said:
“I am absolutely delighted that the London 2012 Games Makers are included in this award from the Prime Minister. The recognition today at 10 Downing Street underlines how critical the contribution of volunteers has been to the success of London 2012.”
The Prime Minister presented the award at a reception at Downing Street last night where a selection of Games Makers and Ambassadors joined other recent Big Society Award winners to celebrate their achievements. They have all made a contribution to the community. Examples of the work they do include:
- saving a local lido
- supporting employees to go into local schools to support and inspire pupils
- providing school children with a free, nutritious breakfast
- creating a community park from a disused field
- offering employment to long-term unemployed people and ex-offenders
Between the Olympics and the Paralympics, the Join In Trust gave those who were inspired by the London 2012 Games an opportunity to get involved in sport and volunteering in their local community. Set up with Government funding to keep the volunteering legacy alive, over 300,000 people joined in at their local sports clubs in August this year. Join In will be offering more opportunities for people to volunteer in 2013.
Notes to editors
1. The Big Society Awards were launched by the Prime Minister in November 2010. A list of all 50 Big Society Award winners can be found here: www.bigsocietyawards.org/award-winners-2012/
2. Find out more about the Big Society Awards and how to make a nomination here: www.bigsocietyawards.org/about-the-awards/
3. About Join In:
‘Join In Local Sport’ is a project run by the independent charity, ‘The Join In Trust’, chaired by Sir Charles Allen CBE, made up of a mix of people from sporting, business and volunteering backgrounds. The first Join In weekend took place on 18/19 August 2012 when clubs and communities registered their events on a specially designed website, www.joininuk.org. Individuals used the site to connect with events in their local area.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said ‘London 2012 delivered an extraordinary and inspiring summer 2012. A number of initiatives contributed to bring the Games to everyone’s doorstep, inviting people to participate and contribute. But it will take ideas and proposals such as Join In to carry the effect of the Games beyond the 60-day event UK enjoyed this summer.’