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Volunteering day hopes to capitalise on Olympic success story

After the massive success of the volunteer force at this year's Olympics, CSV is encouraging other Londoners to get involved.

"CSV Make a Difference Day is the perfect time for those inspired to volunteer by London 2012 Olympics with opportunities to do so, whether its designing a website for a local sports club, clearing out a nearby pond through to baking a cake or mowing a lawn for a disabled neighbour. In these tough times it is more important than ever for communities to come together and support one another through positive community action."

– Lucy de Groot, Chief Executive of CSV

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Make a Difference Day

CSV Make a Difference Day is the nation's biggest single day of volunteering.

Although most of the events are taking place today (Saturday 27th October), there are also special volunteering initiatives throughout the next week.

In addition to the project in Wembley, Londoners will also be:

  • Helping plant spring bulbs and mow lawns on the Thames View Estate in Barking.
  • Making over a garden in Wandsworth.
  • Creating artworks to display on the wall of a recently-built community garden in Newham.
  • Baking cupcakes for elderly people in Camden.

London's volunteer army

Hundreds of volunteers across London are taking action today, to give something back to their local communities, on CSV Make a Difference Day.

These volunteers in Wembley have been helping to spruce up Brent River Park, planting daffodil bulbs and cleaning out the river.

Brent City Council has been getting a helping hand from a volunteer force of 50 people. Credit: London Tonight.
Make a Difference Day is the nation's biggest single day of volunteering. Credit: London Tonight.

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What's planned for volunteer force?

A group of Olympic Volunteers dancing.
A group of Olympic volunteers dance during a flash-mob at the Eurostar terminal in St Pancras. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

During the Olympics, 8,000 Team London volunteers were deployed across the city, in major transport hubs and tourist hotspots, to welcome visitors to London.

Now, Boris Johnson hopes to build on the success of that programme, by using volunteers "as an additional resource for large scale events".

Today, the first pilot scheme begins at St Pancras Station, with Team London Ambassadors providing a warm welcome to international visitors arriving on the Eurostar.

This will be followed by a series of other projects, which will see ambassadors:

  • helping tourists arriving at events at the 02 arena in Greenwich.

  • welcoming visitors during busy periods at Gatwick Airport.

  • selling poppies to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

  • at Saracens Rugby Club home games when the team returns to London in the New Year.

Eurostar 'delighted' to see volunteers back at station

"We are delighted to see the return of the Ambassadors to London St. Pancras International, to offer visitors arriving by Eurostar a warm welcome to London for the half term break. We were very impressed with the positive impact that this service had in our arrivals hall during Games time, and fully expect this pilot to be a tremendous success for us, for visitors to London and for the Ambassadors taking part."

– Eurostar spokesman Stephen Fielder

Volunteer power 'will boost London's reputation'

The Mayor's Senior Advisor for Volunteering, Charities and Sponsorship, Veronica Wadley, said:

"2012 has been an extraordinary year for London and the achievement of hosting the Games has shown what a terrific welcome we can give visitors. With the help of the Team London Ambassadors and other volunteering programmes, we want to build on the city's reputation for being able to deliver the most fantastic place in the world to visit."

– Veronica Wadley, The Mayors Senior Advisor for Team London, Volunteering, Charities and Sponsorship.

Boris: we'll build on the success of Olympic volunteers

"One of the undoubted highlights of the summer was the fantastic community spirited, magenta and pink clad Ambassadors, who gave up their time to welcome the world. I am delighted that we have delivered on our promise to build on the remarkable success of the volunteers during the Games with the expansion of the Ambassadors Programme.

"Armed with guides and information about the city, they are brilliantly placed to tempt visitors and Londoners alike with the smorgasbord of world class shops, theatres and restaurants that are on offer."

– Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
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