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Olympic Games 2012: Disadvantaged

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether there are targets to encourage people living in the most disadvantaged areas to volunteer to work on preparation for and during the London 2012 Olympics. (248368)

The Personal Best Programme, formerly known as the Pre-Volunteer Programme, uses the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to inspire the most disadvantaged people to acquire and develop their skills for work through volunteering.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has identified that up to 70,000 Games-time volunteers will be required. It has committed to recruiting up to 10 per cent. of these through Personal Best.

It is hoped that 20,000 disadvantaged people from London will be involved in Personal Best. So far, this programme has been trialled in 11 boroughs with 875 Londoners taking part. This includes the five host boroughs which are areas of significant disadvantage. Over the next six months the programme will be rolled out to every London borough. Building on the success in London this is now being offered to regions, the South East and North East being the first.

Although not all graduates of the scheme will become Games-time volunteers, they will build self esteem through community volunteering, work experience and gain transferable job skills through a nationally recognised qualification.

LOCOG has recently launched its Trailblazer volunteer scheme giving volunteers the opportunity to work within LOCOG itself. The scheme began with a three month pilot with 23 volunteers on 19 January 2009 and has been promoted in the host boroughs. If successful, LOCOG intends to involve 60-70 volunteers over the year, increasing the number of participants in the run up to 2012.