The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today marked the first stage of his plans to harness the success of volunteering during the Olympic Games, with the return of the hugely popular Team London Ambassadors to the capital
Community spirited volunteers were one of the highlights of the summer 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 be an additional resource for large scale events and will be a welcoming face of the city for visitors and Londoners. During the autumn school half term, starting on Friday 26th October, the first of a series of pilot projects will see Ambassador Pods return to the Eurostar arrivals hall in St Pancras International, providing a personal welcome to families and visitors. In partnership with the Time Out Magazine, over 200 Ambassadors will help visitors to London make the most of their time in the city, and make them aware of the range of events and activities taking place in the capital during their stay.
The Mayor is also joining forces with the American National Football League (NFL) as fans from the US and from across Europe gather in London to celebrate the only league game currently held abroad. Team London Ambassadors will lend their expertise and enthusiasm to welcome NFL fans in the fan rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 27th October and for the game itself at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 28th October. They will help cement the city’s reputation as the world’s capital for international sport and events following the 2012 Games.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘One of the undoubted highlights of the summer was the fantastic community spirited, magenta and pink clad Ambassadors, who gave up their time to welcome the world. I am delighted that we have delivered on our promise to build on the remarkable success of the volunteers during the Games with the expansion of the Ambassadors Programme.
'Armed with guides and information about the city, they are brilliantly placed to tempt visitors and Londoners alike with the smorgasbord of world class shops, theatres and restaurants that are on offer.’
The Mayor’s Senior Advisor for Team London, Volunteering, Charities and Sponsorship, Veronica Wadley said: ‘ 2012 has been an extraordinary year for London and the achievement of hosting the Games has shown what a terrific welcome we can give visitors. With the help of the Team London Ambassadors and other volunteering programmes, we want to build on the city’s reputation for being able to deliver the most fantastic place in the world to visit.'
Further pilot projects will see Ambassadors alongside uniformed groups (including the military) helping to raise money for the Royal British Legion by selling poppies for London Poppy Day on 1st November, and at Saracens Rugby Club home games when the team returns to London in the New Year at their newly built stadium, Allianz Park in Barnet. Ambassadors will also be rolled out for events at the 02, other locations around the city and during peak busy periods at Gatwick Airport next year.
More than 2,000 Ambassadors have expressed an interest to be a part of the initial pilots, with many more wanting to be involved in the expanding programme.
Stephen Fielder from Eurostar said: ‘We are delighted to see the return of the Ambassadors to London St. Pancras International, to offer visitors arriving by Eurostar a warm welcome to London for the half term break. We were very impressed with the positive impact that this service had in our arrivals hall during Games time, and fully expect this pilot to be a tremendous success for us, for visitors to London and for the Ambassadors taking part.’
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.
Notes to editors
- Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFLUK, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with the London Ambassadors. The NFL prides itself on creating the best fan experience possible and being able to call upon the expertise and enthusiasm of the Ambassadors will help ensure that everyone attending our events - the majority of whom travel from outside London - have a memorable time.’
- Team London Ambassador Brigitte Mischler said: ‘I am so excited to be doing this and think it’s wonderful that the Ambassadors are coming back to London.’
- The Eurostar pilot will run from 26th October- 11th November between 10am- 8pm with 55 volunteers
- The NFL test event pilot will involve 175 Ambassadors at Trafalgar Square for the fan rally and Wembley Stadium for the game.
- Team London Ambassadors are aged between 14 and 85 and speak over 40 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese. The volunteers came from across London and beyond and were put through a rigorous selection process which saw more than 30,000 people apply.