Pulling together

Greenwich Action for Voluntary Service (GAVS), the local CVS, and Greenwich Council pulled together an inspiring and informative event about the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the third sector in Greenwich. Highlight of the event on 19th March at the Greenwich Heritage Centre was a tug of war between representatives of the third sector and the Council, from which the sector emerged victorious.

The first speaker Councillor John Fahy pointed out, that the event was not about competing against each other in the rope pulling competition – an original event at Summer Olympics – but about the Council and the sector working together to support the third sector in Greenwich: “We want to see a thriving and active voluntary sector.”

Hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a big chance for the sector in Greenwich. “It is an opportunity that will not come again in our lifetimes so I think we should grab it,” said Paul Bower, Manager of The Big Opportunity, the London-wide initiative that helps the voluntary sector to make the most of the London 2012 Games.

Greenwich Council’s 2012 Unit, LOCOG/Inspire Mark, The Big Opportunity, Personal Best, Compete4 and many more provided information stalls which covered big opportunities in volunteering, arts and culture, sports, training, jobs and contracts and more. “Now everyone knows what’s going on”, said Toyin, from the organisation Listening Ears.

Numerous voluntary, community and faith groups in Greenwich have the potential to participate in the events before the Games, for example the Cultural Olympiad and Inspire Mark activities, and to support the delivery of the Games, by providing volunteers or venues. They can also help to minimise any adverse impacts on local communities and services, as well as ensure the legacy benefits those in Greenwich. “All these great ideas are very inspiring”, said Benson, from the West Greenwich Community & Arts Centre.

GAVS is the only CVS from all of the Host Boroughs with staff specifically tasked with engaging the third sector in the 2012 Games. “I am delighted that GAVS are leading the way in bringing Greenwich community organisations together to make the most of the world’s largest event which will be taking place on our doorstep,” said Paul.

About GAVS

GAVS, Greenwich Action for Voluntary Service, is the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) in the London Borough of Greenwich. GAVS exists to provide a strategic leadership role in representing the views of the sector. It seeks to enable, facilitate and promote models of excellence in the provision of services that support the delivery and development of voluntary, community and faith organisations and those that work with them in Greenwich.