McDonald's tipped to train 2012 Olympics volunteers

Volunteering England coalition wants to team up with games organisers

London 2012 Olympics site
London 2012 Olympics site

A coalition of volunteering charities that has applied to become a formal partner of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has indicated that it would be willing to work closely with the fast food chain McDonald's if it was appointed as sponsor of the volunteering element of the 2012 games.

Charities including Media Trust, TimeBank UK, YouthNet and v have joined a coalition led by Volunteering England called the Life-Time UK Alliance. It wants to help Locog to recruit volunteers and refer unsuccessful applicants to local volunteer centres.

Earlier this month, Locog and the coalition agreed to make a list of activities they could work on together. Mike Locke, head of public affairs at Volunteering England, told Third Sector it was not a formal partnership but "a friendly and constructive agreement".

A Locog representative is understood to have told the coalition that it was in talks with McDonald's about sponsoring the volunteering element of the games. This sponsorship could include training the 70,000 volunteers needed for the games, it was suggested to the members.

In a briefing document, Volunteering England says it expects the main commercial partner for volunteering at the Olympics, which will contribute £3m, to be announced soon. Three other sponsors will contribute £350,000 each, the document says.

Locke said the coalition would work closely with whoever became the sponsor. Jamie Thomas, chief executive of third sector consultancy firm the Red Foundation, said charities and volunteer centres had indicated that if McDonald's was confirmed as the sponsor, they would work to encourage the firm to maintain its commitment to volunteering.

Locog is also understood to be in talks with Transport for London about providing free transport in the capital for games volunteers. But volunteering charities say Locog has told them that travel and accommodation costs for volunteers living outside London will not be reimbursed.

A Locog spokeswoman said: "There will be commercial partners for the London 2012 volunteering programme. We have not announced any as yet and will not comment on speculation around our commercial deals."

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