London reaps the benefits of lasting volunteering legacy

19 July 2013

Thousands more Londoners have taken up volunteering in the capital as a result of the popularity of the ‘magenta magicians’; the volunteers who gave visitors from all over the world a warm welcome throughout the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Games inspired a legion of new volunteers, reversing a seven year decline, with 91 per cent of Londoners believing volunteering plays an important role in bringing communities together and improving quality of life.

ICM Research commissioned by the Mayor of London shows the Games made over half of Londoners more aware of volunteering opportunities and encouraged 42 per cent of people to volunteer for the first time or more often. More than 68 per cent of Londoners have been involved in some form of volunteering over the last 12 months, with 86 per cent feeling that volunteering plays an important role in helping people to develop skills for work.

The Mayor’s Team London volunteering programme has harnessed the energy and enthusiasm for helping out by highlighting tens of thousands of volunteering opportunities. London Ambassadors are returning to top visitor sites across the capital to help visitors and Londoners from July 27 – 11 September and are being placed in every school in London to help inspire young people to volunteer. In addition, unemployed young people are being recruited as volunteers at all major sporting and cultural events the GLA is working in partnership with throughout 2013. This initiative is being delivered through partnerships with the Team London hub in Tottenham and the East London Business Alliance.

Many of the Team London Ambassadors, Gamesmakers and other 2012 volunteers will be reunited today a year on from the start of the Games, at ‘Go Local’, an event celebrating volunteering at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, organised by Team London and the national volunteering charity Join In. The event invites everyone to re-live the Olympic atmosphere and continue its volunteering legacy. London 2012 medallists and sporting heroes will return to the Park, alongside Lord Coe and the Mayor, to recognise the valuable contribution volunteers make in their local community and inspire more people to get involved.

Published for the first time today, polling of the popular London Ambassadors, who provided a warm visitor welcome throughout the Games, found that on average, seven in ten (71 per cent) felt they were contributing to society as well as being able to meet people from around the world. Around a third of the Ambassadors felt they gained important personal skills during their time, such as learning to work as part of a team, increasing confidence and developing problem solving skills. Around nine in ten Ambassadors (89 per cent) felt they had participated in the chance of a lifetime and enjoyed the satisfaction they got from helping others.*

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Our brilliant Olympic and Paralympic Games reignited a volunteering feel-good factor that spread across the city, compelling people from every walk of life to help out. Over the last 12 months, Team London has worked tirelessly to harness this goodwill and provide a multitude of new volunteering opportunities across communities.

“Our research proves that more people are volunteering and that it is now rightly considered a crucial way of gaining valuable jobs and skills experience. Of course it is also a great way to meet people and have fun. I’m looking forward to meeting many volunteers in Queen Elizabeth Park today and hope we continue to encourage thousands more to give it a go.”

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Notes to editors

1, For more information on Team London please visit: or contact us at [email protected] 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.

2, For Olympic legacy information visit The telephone poll was undertaken by ICM on behalf of the GLA. Results are based on interviews with 1001 London residents aged 18+. Interviews were carried out by telephone between 7th -12th March 2013. A representative sample was interviewed, with quotas set by age, gender and borough. The Team London ICM telephone survey interviewed 1,000 Londoners about their views and had the following results: Importance of volunteering • 91% think volunteering is important for bringing communities together and improving the quality of life • 86% think volunteering plays an important role in helping people to develop skills for work Volunteering in the last 12 months • 36% have helped to support the elderly and other groups needing support • 31% have helped out in a school environment and 26% have helped with children’s activities outside of school. • 29% have helped out with other adult activities – sporting/recreational/ cultural/arts/social clubs/community groups

Volunteering in the future - 45% say they would be most interested in helping to support the elderly and other groups needing support • 37% say they would be most interested in helping out in a school environment

Impact of the Games Having seen the volunteers that helped deliver the Games• - 53% say they are more aware of volunteering opportunities • 47% say they are more interested in volunteering • 42% say they were motivated to volunteer for the first time or more often.

3, *Results from GLA Online Survey, September 2012, with 2,619 Team London Ambassadors

4, Go Local, Presented by BT, is hosted by Join In, and Team London, and is majority funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with additional funding from government grant and BT. For more information on Join In visit