One of the most crucial things that LOCOG has done to ensure that any disabled or Deaf person is provided with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of becoming a Games Maker volunteer is working with leading disability organisations. They are the experts, ensuring that we make the necessary adjustments, provide the correct level of support, and are able to engage with amazingly talented disabled and Deaf people to create a truly diverse and inclusive Games Maker workforce.
One of the organisations that we are currently working with is the Special Olympics. These guys are obviously pros at putting on major sporting events, and have already successfully provided amazing volunteering opportunities for disabled people.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is meeting, reading about and working alongside these inspirational people.
For example, take, Greg. Greg has a learning disability. Not merely content with achieving huge sporting success in the field of gymnastics, he now dedicates a large proportion of his time to volunteering: giving presentations to raise the awareness of learning disability; fundraising; travel buddying; advocacy work; and, most excitingly, using his own skill, knowledge and experience in gymnastics to coach other athletes with learning disabilities.
Greg clearly demonstrates all the characteristics and qualities that LOCOG are looking for in Games Makers. He is enthusiastic, committed and an inspiration to others!
Greg’s dedication to the Olympic and Paralympic Games was evident back in 2000, carrying the Olympic Flame on one leg of the Torch Run through New Zealand. He’s now aiming to be part of London 2012 Games as a Games Maker.
Another person I have come across is David. I was put in contact with David through a charity called Mobilise. We wanted to work with this organisation as part of our hunt for disabled drivers. I personally think that it will be eye-opening and in some cases, ground-breaking for some athletes and dignitaries at the Games in 2012, to be collected in a vehicle driven by a disabled person.
David is one of those guys who has committed to giving up his time to take the role of a volunteer driver for London 2012, and has done so with great passion, declaring that should he be successful in becoming a Games Maker in his 50 years of driving, it would be his ‘finest hour’. He’s encouraging other disabled drivers to come forward and be part of, in his opinion, ‘the greatest show Earth’!
I know that there are thousands of talented disabled people out there, who have what it takes to be a London 2012 Games Maker. I hope this has given you some food for thought, and that you will take this opportunity to apply for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: volunteering at the London 2012 Games. Apply now! Applications close at midnight on Wednesday 27 October.