London Youth Games: Looking for more volunteers
16:32 30 January 2014
Recruitment drive launched for 2014 event
A recruitment drive for hundreds of volunteers to help deliver Europe’s largest annual youth sports event has launched at one of the UK’s most iconic sporting venues this week.
The 2014 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games is expected to be the biggest in its 37-year history with 81 competitions in 30 sports.
Events will run from February to July, building on last year’s record-breaking 114,000 participants.
The delivery of the event is supported by GamesForce, the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games volunteer programme which recruits people to work in sport, events and media roles throughout the season.
Since launching in 2009, GamesForce members have contributed 30,000 hours of volunteer time and current volunteers, including Balfour Beatty employees, gathered at Twickenham Stadium to celebrate the landmark and to launch recruitment for the 2014 Games.
Patron for the 2014 Games and former participant and Olympic and World gold medalist Joanna Rowsel said: “Volunteering at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games through GamesForce can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
“Everyone saw at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics how important to the whole event volunteers are - the success of every major Games depends upon them.
“By volunteering at the London Youth Games you can make a big contribution in officiating, planning events, organising media or a number of other roles to help create an incredible experience for thousands of young Londoners.”
Becky Hall, from Balfour Beatty’s head office, added: “Having completed the day I will definitely be signing up to support the event again next year. It was great to be part of such a massive, well organised event!”
Sophie McLelland trained to be a cricket umpire through the Games and said: “I had a look on the London Youth Games website and saw they were doing some cricket officiating courses. I used to play, but haven’t done it for maybe three or four years. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn something new about cricket.
“It has really pushed me in the right direction. My tutor is a member of the MCC has been umpiring for 30 years or so – I wouldn’t mind doing that. I’ll keep doing it every summer – I really enjoy it.
“The London Youth Games is special because of the enthusiasm. You hear of girls who haven’t picked up a cricket bat with six weeks to go until the London Youth Games. It’s nice to hear we are getting more people into the games. It’s also a great place to foster new umpires.”
Balfour Beatty’s Owen Johns said: “It was obvious how proud all the competitors were to be able to represent their boroughs in such a large tournament, so it felt fantastic to be able to ensure that their day was as memorable as possible.
“The organising team made the whole process as smooth as could be, and I’ll definitely be volunteering again next year.”
Helen Tang began her basketball officiating career at the London Youth Games and is now a senior National League referee. She said: “When you are around so many people from right across London, you start to realise what sport can do for people. I would highly recommend volunteering after you have finished participating.
“It gives you a more rounded experience, it equips you with so many transferable skills. Sport offers each and every person out there something unique to benefit themselves and to get your further ahead.”
Balfour Beatty’s Maria Kovacheva added: “Supporting the London Youth Games was a real honour and a lot of fun. It is all about team work and I strongly recommend for everyone to volunteer and take part as sport is really important in society!”
To find out more about competing or volunteering at the 2014 London Youth Games, see www.londonyouthgames.org.