London Montage

Diary of a Games Maker Part 1

London 2012 describe ‘Games Makers’ as follows:

“London 2012 volunteers are called ‘Games Makers’, as they are helping to make the Games happen. Up to 70,000 Games Makers will take on a wide variety of roles across the venues: from welcoming visitors; to transporting athletes; to helping out behind the scenes in the Technology team to make sure the results get displayed as quickly and accurately as possible. Games Makers come from a diverse range of communities and backgrounds, from across the UK and abroad. The vast majority are giving up at least 10 days to volunteer during the Games.”

The whole process started with initial registration by October 2010. By early March 2011 they had received about 250,000 applicants for the approx 70,000 jobs and had interviewed about 3500 at that stage (300 per day were being interviewed at the Excel Centre).  In mid-October I was invited to an interview, which I attended on 28 October.  There was some general information to start with, including an Eddie Izzard film with hints about how to approach the interview.  These were conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner, mainly by interviewers who were volunteers themselves.

After some e-mails saying in effect “you had not been forgotten”, I had an offer to become a Games Maker in January 2012.  In fact I only received the reminder e-mail, saying I had 7 days to decide whether to accept or reject the offer!  I don’t know what happened to the original e-mail.

Events moved a little quicker after that, as I went to one of the Orientation half-day sessions at Wembley Arena in early February.  Fortunately I went on the Saturday afternoon, as the snow started to fall just as we came out of the arena and were heading for the train home.  I understand that many people had difficulty getting there on the Sunday.   We often do not give much credit to our weather forecasters but they were accurate almost to the minute in predicting the start of that particular snowfall!   I did some supermarket shopping on the way home and then had to wait almost 30 minutes for a taxi – they were all busy and/or had gone home because of the snowfall.  Just as well the Olympics are being held in the summer!

The Games Maker journey will continue with role specific training, uniform collection and on-site training at the venues and finally in carrying out the allocated shifts.