Last Friday I was honoured to be able to address an event in Fairfield Halls to celebrate the people who live in Croydon that volunteered at last summer’s London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
We all know how fantastic last summer made us feel – the achievements of our athletes, the incredible venues, the way our armed forces stepped in at short notice to help out, the feeling of togetherness in our city – and there is no doubt that the Games Makers played a big part in making the Olympics and Paralympics such a success. I wrote at the time about the important contribution that Croydon’s athletes and Games Makers were making, so I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation to speak to the group and offer my thanks.
2012 reminded us that this is still a great country when we come together for a common cause. The challenge is how do we sustain that over a longer period of time. And that’s what Friday night was all about. As well as thanking people for what they did for London 2012, it was the launch of ‘Team Croydon’ – a group of people who are happy to help out at major events in the borough whether it’s a Royal visit, a cultural festival or an emergency. Anyone can be part of the team, whether you work full-time, are retired or are unemployed.
69 people signed up at the event immediately, and many more have since. If you’d like to get involved then fill in your details on the CVA website and then help out as and when you can.
One of the best things about my job is the number of people I get to meet who are passionate about volunteering to help our town. As with the 155 Games makers I got to meet last Friday, many residents already give a lot of their time to one or more of the many voluntary organisations we have in the borough. By working together, even if it’s just for a couple of hours a year, we are able to make a huge difference in our communities and ultimately to the perception of Croydon. That can only be a good thing.