Barbara Windsor & Mayor’s Team London Ambassadors show #LondonIsOpen

08 August 2016
  • Team London Ambassadors are out at key tourist locations across the capital this summer, welcoming visitors from around the world and providing them with information and local knowledge.
  • Over 150,000 active volunteers are now part of the Team London volunteering programme.
  • Over the summer the Team London Ambassadors will help more than 250,000 visitors.

As tourists from around the world flock to London this summer, the Mayor’s Team London Ambassadors are taking to the streets, ready to welcome visitors to the capital at hotspots across the city and show that London is open to all.

Today, Dame Barbara Windsor DBE joined the Ambassadors in Trafalgar Square. The actress has been an enthusiastic supporter of Team London since the Visitor Welcome programme launched ahead of the London 2012 Games.

London attracted a record number of tourists in 2015 with 31.5 million people visiting the capital, a 20 per cent increase on five years ago. 18.6 million were international, compared to 17.4 million in 2014.* As the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games get underway in Rio de Janeiro, Team London Ambassadors, 60 per cent of whom began volunteering in the London 2012 Games, are continuing the London Olympic Legacy and volunteering their time to provide a warm welcome to visitors as part of the Mayor’s Visitor Welcome programme.

Throughout the summer, 550  Team London Ambassadors, recognisable in their distinctive magenta uniforms, are providing maps, information and local knowledge from purpose-built ‘welcome pods’ stationed in a number of key tourist hotspots including Southbank, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square, Exhibition Road, St James’s Park, Tower of London, Gatwick North and Gatwick South. Over the summer they will volunteer 15,000 hours over 4,000 shifts, helping more than 250,000 visitors.

Team London is supporting the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, launched in the wake of the EU Referendum to show the world that London is united and open for business, and people of all backgrounds and nationalities are welcome. The Ambassadors themselves come from a wide range of backgrounds, reflecting the diverse nature of London’s population, and speak over 50 languages between them including Cantonese, Chinese, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, French, German, Spanish and British Sign Language. Those who speak a second language wear a badge, making it easier for tourists to seek help in their native tongue.

Dame Barbara Windsor DBE said: “I am thrilled to join Team London Ambassadors today at Trafalgar Square. As the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, it’s fantastic to see how strong our own Games legacy is here in London, with many of our volunteers beginning their journey back in 2012. Our 550 Team London Ambassadors hail from countries around the world and are doing a brilliant job of showing London is truly open to visitors from all corners of the globe. Team London is a wonderful initiative, getting Londoners out there volunteering for our city, giving tips and advice to visitors and making sure London remains the greatest destination in the world.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “As excitement builds for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, I am pleased that our Team London Ambassadors will be back out on the streets again this summer, showing that London is open and ready to welcome visitors from all corners of the world.

“Volunteering is a great way to break down barriers and encourage people to build connections with their fellow Londoners. The Team London Ambassadors programme is testament to this and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers and Team Leaders for their hard work and contribution in making London the world’s best place to live, work and visit”

Due to the success of the initiative, Team London has been asked to deliver the volunteering programme for the London 2017 Summer of Athletics, which includes the IPC ParaAthletics World Championships and the IAAF World Championships.

Team Leader Francette Albin, who spent the morning working with Dame Barbara Windsor DBE in Trafalgar Square said: “I love being a Team London Ambassador and it’s especially brilliant to be joined in Trafalgar Square by Dame Barbara Windsor this morning, meeting tourists  and visitors from around the world, sharing our local knowledge and love of our great city. I’ve been an Ambassador since 2012, leading teams of volunteers at events across the capital. My team comes from all corners of the capital and they’re always enthusiastic to share our love of this city. We’re here to show the world that London is open to everyone and I look forward to welcoming many more people to the capital this Summer.”

Adeniyi Tella, a new Team London Ambassador added: “In my day job, I work for Great Western Railways, Paddington Station, and have the pleasure of interacting with visitors to London every day. I’ve volunteered at every major event across the capital since 2012 and have loved every second, working on a team with people from all different backgrounds and languages. When I was given the opportunity to become a Team London Ambassador this year – I leapt at the chance! There’s nothing I don’t know about how to navigate round London – I love sharing this insider knowledge with visitors and locals alike.”

Notes to editors

  • Team London Ambassadors are placed at nine visitor hot-spot locations for a six-week period of the summer, from 21 July to 31 August 2016, including: Southbank, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square, Exhibition Road, St James’s Park, Tower of London, Gatwick North, Gatwick South


  • Team London is the Mayor of London’s volunteering initiative. It supports 2,000 charitable organisations, works with over 100 businesses to recognise the importance of volunteering for their staff and the next generation and provides thousands of opportunities for all Londoners to give back to their community through its website and speed volunteering app. Team London runs a wide range of programmes working cross-sector to support young people and London’s communities, notably HeadStart London in partnership with social integration charity The Challenge, promotes social inclusion and develops employability by a guaranteed interview scheme for young Londoners. London was named European Volunteering Capital 2016 as a result of Team London’s partnership working with the third sector.


  • Research by City Hall shows that Londoners perceive a strong connection between volunteering and a sense of community, with 86 per cent saying that volunteering plays an important role in bringing communities together to improve quality of life.


  • The Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, launched on 18th July, aims to show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome.


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