Hackney 2012 volunteers explore the Olympic Park

The first group of Hackney’s new 2012 volunteer force, the Hackney Hosts, enjoyed a day out with a difference recently when they took a bus tour of the Olympic Park. They were shown all the venues, saw the landscaping taking place, and had a close look at the Olympic Village which will eventually have 2,880 apartments as well as a polyclinic, shops and a school.

“It was very inspiring, an eye opener,” said Stoke Newington resident and father-of-one Gary Coleman. “I was surprised at how big the area is, and at the size of the Olymic stadium, and how much work’s involved. I think it will rejuvenate the area; kids will have something to look forward to.”

By bringing in 60% of site materials by water or rail, the developers will keep an estimated 200,000 lorries off the road, said tour guide Tim Martin. Three quarters of a million trees, plants and shrubs will be planted in the Olympic Park.

By this summer, Hackney Council, which runs the Hackney Hosts programme with Peabody, will have recruited 100 residents - volunteers who will become well known in the borough during the lead up to the 2012 Games.

The Hosts receive free training in first aid, presentation skills and knowledge about the Games, and will be supported to find work. Many of the hosts have also chosen to become 2012 Champions, helping to promote the ethos of the Games and Games-related activities within their own communities.

Hackney Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Cllr Guy Nicholson, said: "Everybody who is applying to be a Hackney Hosts volunteer has two things in common - being excited about the 2012 Games & being proud of where they live, and they are more than ready to be our ambassadors on the borough s streets, welcoming the world to Hackney.”

Stephen Howlett, Peabody Chief Executive, said:

"Hackney Hosts is a great way for people in Hackney to get involved in the 2012 Oympic and Paralympic Games and gain valuable hands-on experience through volunteering. We re proud to be working with Hackney Council on this important programme."

The first group of Hosts has already helped out at a recent Jobs Fair and with the Census, and next month will provide support for customers at the New Age Games – Hackney’s programme of free activities for people over 50.

For more information about Hackney Hosts, contact Karthiga Kulendran at Peabody, phone 020 7021 4154 or email

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