Games legacy - Mayor's volunteer army goes into action in 2013

04 February 2013
  • Schools across London to be matched with Team London Ambassadors
  • Unemployed young people to volunteer at UEFA Champions League Final
  • London Ambassadors to return to tourist sites across the capital this summer


Six months on from the London 2012 Games, the Mayor Boris Johnson has announced plans to build on the incredible work of the capital's Olympic volunteers by boosting volunteering right across the city.


Unemployed young people will be recruited as volunteers at major sporting and cultural events, including the UEFA Champions League Final, whilst schools across the capital will be matched with a Team London Ambassador. The Mayor's army of Ambassadors, who were the welcoming face of London during last summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games, will also return to bring their magic to tourist sites across the capital.


The plans for Team London 2013 are made possible by funding of over £1m agreed between the Department of Media Culture and Sport and the GLA and include:


  • London Ambassadors to return to top visitor sites across the capital, which are set to include (subject to final agreements) Covent Garden, the Tower of London and Gatwick Airport. The volunteers will be on hand to help visitors and Londoners from 27th July –11th September.
  • Team London Ambassadors will be placed in primary and secondary schools in London to help inspire young people to volunteer, both in the school and in the local community. Research has shown that engaging pupils in volunteering increases their attendance and academic attainment.
  • 10 per cent of the 300 Team London volunteers helping support the UEFA Champions League Final in May will be unemployed young people. This will be repeated for all the major sporting and cultural events for which Team London is providing volunteers. Through partnerships with the Mayor's Team London hub in Tottenham and the East London Business Alliance, young people will be selected and be given Team London skills training. This will boost their CVs with valuable experience and life skills – as well as giving them access to a great experience. This is part of the 10 per cent pledge to ensure that a minimum of 10 per cent of Team London Event volunteers are between 18-25 years old and not currently in employment.


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'We are providing young people with an excellent opportunity to boost their employment prospects with sound, on the ground work experience and training. Team London volunteers will soon be bursting through the doors of schools across the capital, I hope that this initiative will inspire young Londoners to get out and support their local communities.'


The Mayor's Senior Advisor for Team London, Volunteering, Charities and Sponsorship, Veronica Wadley, said 'This is great news for the Olympic Legacy. Volunteering was one of the triumphs of London 2012 and just six months on, we are announcing a major programme - the Team London Ambassadors, Boris's 'magenta magicians' - will be back on the streets of London with their visitor welcome and supporting all major sporting and cultural events. But also starting to help our schools build volunteering into the lives of all school children. It's great that the government and DCMS have got behind the programmes with hard cash. And remember, none of this would have been possible without Bloomberg and incredibly generous support of the Reuben family whose Foundation gave £2m to launch Team London in 2011.'


Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: 'The London 2012 volunteers made a huge impression at last summer's Games. With their phenomenal energy and enthusiasm they gave a warm welcome to visitors and Londoners alike. Team London 2013 will keep the spirit of London 2012 alive.'


The Prime Minister's Legacy Ambassador, Lord Coe, said: 'We enjoyed one of the greatest summers in living memory last summer with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the world saw the very best of what Britain had to offer. The Games Makers and Team London Ambassadors were an unforgettable part of that. They were inspired by the millions of volunteers who day in day out support our communities and I am confident together they will deliver a clear legacy over the next ten years.'


Liam Kane, Chief Executive of the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) said: 'ELBA is delighted to be supporting the GLA on this initiative. Opportunities such as volunteering at the UEFA Champions League provide young people the chance to hone their soft skills, receive an insight into the world of work and gain confidence in working with others. One of the best things you can do for unemployed young people is make them more attractive to potential employers and this initiative does just that.'


Stephen Hawkins, School Ambassador said: 'Volunteering during the Games was an experience I'll never forget. Working with schools in London is a great opportunity to inspire young people to also get involved in volunteering, developing their skills and experience as well as having a lot of fun!'


Team London is the Mayor's volunteering programme for all Londoners, which aims to make volunteering easier and more rewarding. It follows the successful cities of service model originally set up in NYC by Mayor Bloomberg.


Team London recognises the work of everyday Londoners and the many voluntary groups and charities in the capital. 

Notes to editors

  1. To sign up to Team London please go to
  2. Schools who would like to register their interest in getting a Team London Ambassador should email [email protected]
  3. Team London was inspired by Mayor Bloomberg's Cities of Service model. Cities of Service was founded by Mayor Bloomberg and 16 other Mayors from across the United States to help them leverage citizen service strategies to address local needs and make local government more effective, Cities of Service builds on the success of the initiative in New York City ( The coalition now includes more than 100 mayors representing nearly 50 million Americans. Team London is the first initiative based on City of Service model outside of the United States. The programme gained valuable insights from Cities of Service and, with support of Bloomberg LP, funding from the Reuben Foundation, and input from over 130 external organisations, a plan for London and Londoners was created.
  4. Team London volunteers will be supporting a number of confirmed events in the capital over 2013. These include the UEFA Champions League Final, Saracens home games at their new Allianz Park stadium, the EuroLeague Basketball Finals at the O2, welcoming supporters to St Pancras for the England v France rugby international, the ITU Triathlon, Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve. Details are also being finalised with other events such as Ride London, the Boat Race, Thames Festival, the series of summer events at the Royal Parks and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  5. Increasing attainment in schools – see 'The value of volunteering', economic and social research council, 2010.
  6. London Ambassadors in schools seek to:
  • Inspire young people in London to volunteer
  • Inspire pupils to learn about the city they live in
  • Create a vegetable garden in every London school


The project seeks to build on the volunteering legacy of 2012, and particularly the momentum, enthusiasm and profile of the Team London Ambassadors.


Six pilot schools have been identified and will be run from January 2013, and offered to all London's primary and secondary school by 2016. The six pilot schools are:


Primary schools:

Stockwell Primary School, Lambeth

St Saviour's Primary CE School, Lambeth


Secondary schools:

West London Free School, Hammersmith & Fulham

The Petchey Academy, Hackney

St Paul's Way Trust School, Tower Hamlets

Twyford Church of England High School, Ealing


The benefits expected from the project are:

  • An increase in the number of young people volunteering and gaining skills and experience
  • An increase in the knowledge of young people about London
  • Wider community engagement in the school through volunteers engaging in creating a vegetable garden


7. Community spirited volunteers were one of the highlights of summer 2012, as they helped Londoners and gave a warm, friendly welcome to our visitors, guiding them around the city to sporting venues as well as to the attractions London had to offer. The Mayor is building on the model created for Games time where Ambassadors were on hand in central London and other key locations to assist and inform visitors, answering questions about the capital and helping to guide them to the key attractions, from museums and theatres to restaurants and world class shopping districts. The 8,000 strong army of dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers will continue to be a welcoming face of the city for visitors and Londoners. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games 8,000 Ambassadors were deployed to more than 40 locations across the city in their distinctive magenta and pink uniforms. They were based at major transport hubs and tourist hotspots.