Tonbridge Olympic Games Greeters celebrate their success
By kentsussex | Thursday, October 11, 2012, 15:34
More than 90 of the 130 volunteer Games Time Kent Greeters who personally welcomed at least 37,200 visitors at key county transport hubs during the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been celebrating their success.
Celebrating success – Games Time Kent Greeters
Kent County Council Chairman Richard King and Visit Kent Chairman Amanda Cottrell meet representatives of the volunteer Games Time Kent Greeters
The volunteers from across the county joined representatives of Visit Kent, Kent County Council (KCC) and Voluntary Action Maidstone for a special event at the Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre, in Faversham.
The Games Time Kent Greeters worked as the frontline of Kent's campaign to offer 2012 Games visitors and travellers the warmest welcome in England and ensure that during their travels they learned more about the county, its heritage and all the different places to visit.
Inspired by the established success of the volunteer Kent Greeters programme, KCC agreed tofund the special Games team in the bid to secure an Olympic and Paralympic Games' legacy for the county's tourism industry – a legacy estimated to be worth more than £320 million over the coming four years.
Voluntary Action Maidstone guided recruitment and the tourism champions at Visit Kent ensured the Games Time Kent Greeters received first class customer service training.
Visit Kent worked closely with coach and bus companies, cross-Channel ferry providers, Eurotunnel, Eurostar, Southeastern trains and HS1 to ensure Games Time KentGreeters were on hand to assist passengers throughout the busiest travelling periods.
During the Games, greeters welcomed visitors aboard P&O ferries as well as at key Kent destinations including Ebbsfleet andAshford International, Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Dover and Tonbridge stations,Gravesham campsite, University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury city centre and Wrotham Park & Ride.
Amanda Cottrell, chairman of Visit Kent, said the success of the Games Time Kent Greeters had been outstanding and plans are already in hand to build on that success for the future across the county.
Congratulating the greeters on their achievements, Cllr Carole Waters, KCC deputy cabinet member for customer and communities, said: "We knew from the very outset that two critical things we wanted off the back of the Games were a tourism legacy and a volunteering legacy. The role you have all played has helped us in getting both cannot be overstated."
Meanwhile, Richard King, chairman of KCC, said: "The Games Time Kent Greeter programme was delivered so professionally, so passionately, and so, dare I say it, perfectly.
"When I became KCC chairman I set two priorities for my year – opportunities for young people andvolunteering. The London Olympics and Paralympics has cast a spotlight on the enormous value of volunteers.
"The Games Time Kent Greeter programme has been a huge success and we estimate 4,000 of the London 2012 Games Makers were also from Kent. Furthermore, 2,000 Kent people volunteered to ensure our four days of the Olympic Relay, which attracted 620,000 spectators along the route, were a fantastic success.
"I hope everyone who has enjoyed this summer of celebrations will take advantage of many more volunteering opportunities available through the county's Kent eVent Team programme. In addition, we are aiming to build our 2012 sports legacy by recruiting and training 1,300 Kent volunteer Sport Makers – people who will help lead and deliver sports activities in their local community."
Chris Hespe, KCC Head of Culture and Sport, and Stephanie Holt, KCC Manager for the 2012 Games, werealso presented with special Visit Kent Chairman's Award 2012. They were selected for special recognition for going that "extra mile" to champion the Games Time Kent Greeters' initiatives and their contribution in promoting Kent to visitors during the Olympic Games and as a host county for the Paralympic road cycling at Brands Hatch.
All Kent Games Time Greeters are receiving a Souvenir Games Baton to mark their work as well as a 2012 DVD capturing the atmosphere and the success of the Games.