Since 2005 we have all heard how the British Olympic association have been working tirelessly to create the best games they possibly can, but behind them are the thousands upon thousands of volunteers, people who have worked just as hard and will continue to do so throughout the Games. These volunteers who have transformed London and created improved transport, better housing and bustling venues to benefit the city for years to come.
Almost 50, 000 people worked together in working on the new Olympic Park during is construction, many of these were part of employment and training schemes, representing women, black, Asian, minority ethnic people, those with disabilities and those who were previously unemployed to improve skills in construction and other areas in the building career. Encouraging those who are generally under-represented to pick up their welding equipment and welding rotators, their hammers and nails and become part of national history. This creation of jobs and experience is greatly important, especially during this arduous and difficult time in the economy.
All this construction is benefitting London in the long-term too, for every pound spent on construction; 75p will go towards the regeneration of London’s most deprived areas.
Other initiatives include the London 2012 Games Maker programme which recruited around 70,000 volunteers to help run the Olympic and Paralympic games, doing everything from translating for non-English speaking tourists, directing cars and keeping London clean. This programme is the largest of its kind since World War 2 and is also developing a more efficient application process for those with disabilities, meaning many volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and in the end, accumulating almost 8 million hours of volunteering.
Construction for the Olympic sites have focused on being accessible for everyone, young and old , all faiths, cultures and for those with any forms of impairment. Parklands have been designed with shallow gradients in mind, and in all Olympic sites seating is provided regularly so everyone can sit and soak in the celebration atmosphere.
In fact, this summer, London is all about celebration! Along with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there was also the Queens Diamond Jubilee which resulted in a feeling of community within the nation and strengthening the bonds within our society as a whole, something that was definitely needed, especially after the riots in the summer of 2011.
While we can celebrate the sports and the games for the meantime, already these games are having a long time benefit on the country; not only has it created a spirit of sharing and caring that appeared to have disappeared for good. The sports facilities and healthy habits that are being instilled into the minds of UKs younger population, hopefully will lead to a decrease into weight-related health problems and a happier and healthy nation overall.
The point of these Games is to push people to achieve the best that they can, whether it be as an athlete or as an inspired community, building and achieving together.
Photo: Ben Sutherland