Olympic Volunteering

Olympic Volunteering

Dear All

We have been working over the last year to establish an ‘Olympics-inspired’ volunteering blog-site that we were to use to showcase opportunities that, whilst maybe without the official tag, were inspired by the principles and values of the Olympics.

This work has been a slow grind. In particular we’ve struggled to source opportunities from local organizations and clubs that meet this criteria. Without any distinct resourcing to develop this further we’ve hit a bit of a brick wall.

However the biggest wall was reading the VE release recently with regards to the use of the Olympics logo, name, related-words, etc. In the end, we took the option to de-publish our site in response to this email.

I really thought that the Olympic spirit was about getting on board, doing something, engagement, etc. And yet, the red tape has been enough to put us off!

Are other people coming up against this / made a similar decision?

olympicsI’m beginning to wonder whether we ought to advertise our annual dog show as “RSPCA Cambridge Dog Show for the year following 2015” in order to avoid being sued for using the number 2016.

I suppose it would be a talking point.

Certainly the advice from our HQ has been that we should be ultra-cautious about anything that appears to be combining the year and something vaguely sport-related.

Through other people I have come across exactly the same thing regarding London 2012 and the Olympics generally. I am not able to name the organisation but they were creating content for the so-called learning legacy website and were told in no uncertain terms that any mention of who did this work for them would not be tolerated and they were not able to benefit from reciprocal publicity about having contributed to it.

It’s dreadful that on the one hand the organising committee is saying this is the ‘People’s Ol*mpics’ and the one with the biggest cultural input but on the other hand corporatism is king. I don’t even understand how it is legal to ‘own’ a term such as Olympics in such a way that precludes other people from using it.

My current role, until December, is to use the Olympics to increase sports volunteering in the west midlands. To be honest its only now that a lot of local authorities are really getting serious about it, although your local authority (whoever is reading this) will have a designated 2012 officer. Possibly not at a local county level but certainly at county level. If you have a scheme like this you should run it by them and they will hav a good ‘in’ into a variety of networks that can help.

For my sins, I actually took a post with the Olympics team at Hackney Council right back when it set up, what, 6 years ago? As Olympics and Paralympics Volunteering and Community Engagement Officer. The best bit of the job was running community meetings in Hackney Wick (for those that don’t know it, a partly wonderful but also very deprived and sometimes scary bit of London). The worst was trying to actually be allowed to DO anything. Seemed like 20 layers of approvals needed. And that was pretty much internally. Most frustrating job I ever had, and not ashamed to say I left after 6 mind-bending months there, with no regrets. Just very grateful I don’t have to play the 2012 PR game any more. I’d say run, run, run for the hills, and go out there on your own strengths.

Just my view of course, but couldn’t resist joining in!

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