A year ago today, Glasgow took centre stage as host of the twentieth Commonwealth Games. Over the last few months there’s been much talk about legacy in terms of sport and fitness but the Games has opened up a new world for people in other ways too.
In January 2013, the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, launched a £600k funding programme to offer financial assistance to volunteers who might otherwise not have been able to volunteer at the Games. The money meant that 1,000 people were able to become Host City Volunteers helping visitors in locations throughout the city.
And it’s certainly had a lasting impact for people Jim McGuinness, 57 from the east end. He said, “From the first training session the whole experience of volunteering brought so much joy into my life and I immediately knew I was going to be a part of something special.”
For the duration of the Games Jim was stationed at both Bridgeton Cross and Glasgow Green directing people and answering any questions. “All the people I met were so positive and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The whole East End came to life and was so vibrant – there were happy faces everywhere I looked.”
After the Games Jim was one of the volunteers who produced a special exhibition at the People’s Palace charting the experience and memories of those who volunteered. “I really enjoyed being part of that. We all shared an amazing experience and it was great to mark that through this exhibition. Being a part of the Games has certainly made me a lot healthier in body and richer in the mind. I waited seven long years to be a part of it and it was worth every second.”
Linda Crofts, aged 62, from Govan was also a proud Host City Volunteer. Linda had lived away from Glasgow since she was 17 but moved back giving up her job, to look after her mother who was ill. She said, “In April last year I was unemployed and I had just lost my mum. When I saw the advert in the Evening Times for Host City Volunteers the timing felt right.
“During the Games, I was based at the Mitchell library and Glasgow Green. There was a real buzz about the city and I loved being a part of it. Since then I’ve volunteered at many events including the World Piping Championships and the Davis Cup. I’ve also started volunteering at the Southern General Hospital as a welcomer. Volunteering has created so many opportunities for me and it’s been great to give something back too.”
The Big Lottery Fund has invested £15.2 million in projects that are helping to build a lasting legacy from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. You can following the Legacy discussion on twitter using #oneyearon @legacy2014scot @BIGScotland