UK & World News
London Games Spark Volunteer Call Across UK
The enthusiasm of thousands of first-time volunteers at the Olympics must be harnessed to encourage them to give up their time in the future, according to voluntary groups.
The call has come from organisations that have been impressed by the hard work and dedication of the 70,000 so-called 'Games Makers'.
"The volunteering at the games has been absolutely outstanding," said Terry Ryall, the chief executive of vInspired, which helps organise volunteering for 14 to 25-year-olds.
"There are lots and lots of charities and causes who need people to help and there's a ready-made volunteer workforce here. It would be a disaster if we just let it go."
It is the kind of spirit displayed by Sally Brothers that Ms Ryall is talking about.
The hospital dietician was selected to work as one of 8,000 London ambassadors welcoming visitors to the city.
Sally even got to play a nurse in the Olympic opening ceremony. Now she has the volunteering bug.
"I have a full-time job, two children, a husband," she said.
"This is the first time I've ever volunteered for anything, but now I've done it once I'm going to do it again."
Warda Abdi already volunteers at a hospital and wanted to make sure she played her part in the Games.
She has been answering spectators' questions close to the Olympic village in Stratford.
"It's important to volunteer in your community and help other people out and do different things, experience different things," she said.
"It has been amazing... the best experience of my life so far."
Currently 12.7 million people volunteer at least once a month in the UK.
And it is young people like Warda who do the most, with 36% of 14 to 25-year-olds volunteering in the past year compared with just 26% of over 25s, according to vInpsired.
Like many others, Helen Apsey from Reading, found the volunteers only too happy to help.
"You don't get lost, you know where you are, everyone is cheerful. Everyone is trying to get everyone else going. It's brilliant," she said.
Her husband Chris has been one of the volunteers inside the Olympic Stadium, helping in particular with the long jump.
"He spends every weekend helping with athletics events," Helen added.
"They wouldn't happen if you didn't have volunteers to measure and carry - so I hope other people will join in."