Our Park Champions celebrated!

Annual Park Champions Celebration 2017
Annual Park Champions Celebration 2017

Over 110 Park Champions and stakeholders joined us for our annual celebration at The Last Drop on 28 September 2017. It was an amazing evening celebrating the contribution of the volunteers who have participated in a range of activities over the past year.

Volunteers dedicated over 11,000 volunteer hours in 2017; providing information, welcoming guests, guiding them around the Park, delivering the mobility service at the information point, supporting the vast number of events – including West Ham United and London Lions matches, Shell Eco-Marathon and 64 bits – and getting their hands dirty in our conservation and gardening sessions.

We are looking forward to another exciting year in 2018. There will definitely be something for everybody to get involved with. Once again we will be running our hugely successful customer and mobility services as well as continuing to develop our community guide role.

Congratulations to our Park Champions!

Gold, silver and bronze pin badges were awarded as a way of saying thank you to our Park Champions for their enthusiasm, energy and dedication; bronze for 50 hours of volunteering, silver for 100 hours and gold for 150 hours.

Park Champions voted Mark Orton as our Volunteer of the Year!

Our volunteers of the month made up the shortlist for the Volunteer of the Year award:

  • Frank Scavera
  • Mark Orton
  • Oluwafunmike Akande
  • Edward Wingate
  • Shirley Henry
  • Anne Jennings
  • Graham Soames
  • Peter Barry
  • Catherine Ellis
  • Richard Darby
Volunteer of the year: Mark Orton
Volunteer of the year: Mark Orton

Mark Orton was voted as the winner by fellow Park Champions and has already volunteered over 700 hours this year. Mark is a fantastic team member and also a team leader who always leads by example, ensuring everyone is having fun!

Volunteer Group of the Year: Community Guides

Those shortlisted for the Volunteer Group of the Year award were:

  • Orchard Leaders
  • Community Guides
  • Team Leaders
Volunteer Group of the Year: Community Guides
Volunteer Group of the Year: Community Guides

Our Community Guides volunteers were proud to receive the Volunteer Group of the Year award. Community Guides were trained to deliver guided walks around the Park for local groups including Loughborough University Students, the ArcelorMittal Orbit new starters and Chobham Manor residents. A total of 320 volunteer hours have been devoted to training and the delivery of this service in the first year of its operation. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with incredibly high satisfaction scores on every walk.

Partner of the Year: London Stadium 185

The nominees for the Partner of the Year award were:

  • West Ham United Football Club
  • London Stadium 185
  • Here East
  • GLL
  • London Lions Basketball Club
Partner of the Year: London Stadium 185
Partner of the Year: London Stadium 185

London Stadium 185 (LS185) offered a unique opportunity to Park Champions to volunteer over four concerts. Park Champions gave up over 1,050 hours of their time to enhance the customers’ experience. Park Champions adapted themselves to the needs of each concert, providing feedback that allowed LS185 and the Our Parklife team to act swiftly and offer an even better experience at the next fixture. LS185 and the Our Parklife team trained over 10 Park Champions who are now Stadium Team Leaders as a result of the concerts.

Highly Commended: West Ham United
Highly Commended: West Ham United

West Ham United Football Club received the highly commended award for the opportunities offered to volunteers since their move to London Stadium. The Park Champion role had a real impact on both the club and volunteers as individuals. Following a successful pilot programme, West Ham United decided to take on an internal team of Supporters Liaison Officers (SLO), employing 16 Park Champions to assist during home games. West Ham United continuously praises the Park Champions who are part of their SLO team.

Best Collaboration: Tower Project

The nominees for the Partner of the Year award were:

  • Canal & River Trust
  • London 2017
  • Tower Project
  • Loughborough University London
Best Collaboration: Tower Project
Best Collaboration: Tower Project

Tower Project and Our Parklife have been collaborating since 2015, offering six week programmes where students with special educational needs from local schools join our customer service team volunteering one to two days a week. Over the course of the six week placement, students work towards an Entry Level 3 accredited training in customer service, learn about the Park’s diverse facilities, activities and events and the range of careers available on the Park – everything from visitor services to security, engineering, cleaning and grounds maintenance.

Graham Smithers, Head of Services, Tower Project, Job Enterprise and Training Service (JET) said: “We would like to thank Our Parklife for their help with young people with special educational needs in East London. Just 7% are in paid employment and schemes like this will go a long way to ensure that more young people with learning disabilities will gain paid employment in the future either at the Olympic Park or at similar thinking establishments.”

Highly Commended: Loughborough University
Highly Commended: Loughborough University

Loughborough University London received the highly commended award for their work with Park Champions and Our Parklife. Over 2016 and 2017, we have promoted the benefits of volunteering to students and helped make them feel even more a part of the Park by becoming Park Champions. It has resulted in Our Parklife creating a bespoke role for the media students, in partnership with the London Lions Basketball team. The students’ role is to interview the London Lions players, gaining experience in the video editing field as well as a great exposure to working at events.

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate another fantastic year for the Park Champions programme and our dedicated Park Champions who are a vital part of life at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

If you want to find out more about volunteering on the Park, please get in touch with us here.

Park Champions on the buses

Park Champion volunteers play a vital role at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; throughout September they are supporting an innovative trial of an autonomous electric shuttle bus. The free service can accommodate 15 passengers and an operator and Park Champion volunteer will be on board for every journey to answer questions and share knowledge about the sustainable legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to the Park to experience a new and developing technology.

The shuttle bus uses state-of-the-art technology, including sensors, cameras, odometry and GPS mapping to navigate and detect obstacles in its path. Its speed is limited to 5mph for the purposes of this trial and the route includes four stops with a total journey time of approximately 12 minutes. While the vehicle has been trialled in other countries, this is the first time it is being tested in such a busy public setting by a public transport operator in the UK. The trial is the first in a programme of initiatives that will lead to the trialling of fully autonomous, road-worthy vehicles at the Park in real-world settings by 2019.

As well as offering beautifully landscaped parklands and playgrounds, world-class sporting facilities, and a varied programme of cultural and community events, the Park has rapidly been established as an area of innovation and collaboration. The trial brings together a range of partners focused on creating solutions to the challenges we face for the future, including Keolis, a leading global transport operator; NAVYA, a principal name in the development of innovative, smart and sustainable mobility; HereEast, home to advanced research, business and innovation centres; and ENGIE, who offer a comprehensive range of clean mobility solutions globally that transform the way energy is used.

The shuttle bus offers an innovative, smart and sustainable solution for ‘first and last mile’ journeys in a busy urban environment that complements other forms of public transport. Park Champions are gathering feedback throughout the trial which will provide important information to inform ongoing work on future mobility solutions. Initial feedback from passengers, following a journey on the service, has been very positive with comments including “am very confident in riding autonomous vehicles now”, “very safe and great way to travel” and “it’s confirmed how safe they are”.

If you would like to experience the shuttle bus for yourself, just hop on at the Timber Lodge Cafe in the north of the Park. The free service is running on the following dates and times:

  • Monday 11 to Friday 15 September 10am to 5pm
  • Sunday 17 to Friday 22 September 10am to 5pm
  • Monday 25 September 10am to 5pm
  • Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 September 10am to 5pm

We look forward to seeing you on the bus!

If you would like to know more about volunteering or opportunities with Our Parklife, please contact us.

Three years supporting the legacy of 2012

The Our Parklife Community Interest Company (CIC) was established as a social enterprise to help deliver the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games when the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park reopened to the public in 2014.

The first CIC to bring together skills and experience from the private, charitable and social enterprise sectors in one organisation, Our Parklife works in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation and local communities to ensure that East Londoners benefit from opportunities to volunteer, work and gain new skills on the Park.

2017 marks our third anniversary on the Park and our Annual Report 2016 highlights the positive impact that our truly innovative joint venture has had on local communities.

In our first year Our Parklife:

  • Established the Park Mobility service
  • Developed the Park Champion programme
  • Hosted education visits with local schools and groups
  • Ensured that employment and training opportunities were focused on local communities
  • Developed key relationships and consulted with Park stakeholders
  • Set up and operated Mobile Garden City – the only community garden on the Park
  • Established The Harvest Stomp – an annual community festival celebrating local food growing and resourcefulness
  • Provided event support to the London Stadium and London Lions Basketball Club
Highlights from 2016

Our Parklife has created approximately £2.7m of economic and social value for the local economy. During 2016, the Park Champion Volunteer programme went from strength to strength. Our proud volunteers are the face of the Park, exuding energy, enthusiasm and passion, dedicating over 13,700 hours of their time to customer services, mobility services, events and horticulture.

In 2016, Our Parklife:

  • Coordinated and managed over 850 volunteers giving up over 13,700 hours of their time, creating a value of £133,600 to the Park and £1,849,500 of value through subjective well-being
  • Delivered over 70 accredited training qualifications
  • Supported 15 apprentices in facilities management, horticulture, cleaning and team leading
  • Facilitated 15 school/education visits inspiring local young people to learn about biodiversity, sustainability, career opportunities, energy and landscape architecture
  • Collaborated with local colleges and universities including University College London, Loughborough, University London, University of East London and Queen Mary University
  • Delivered bespoke volunteer placements for over 20 local students with Special Educational Needs from Hackney Community College and BSix College
  • Delivered Customer and Mobility Services welcoming over 67,000 Park visitors and over 9,000 visitors with a mobility impairment
  • Facilitated local employment – our current estate facilities management workforce employs 149 people locally of which 67% are from our surrounding boroughs
  • 50 of our staff were previously unemployed, creating approximately £740,000 for the local economy by getting people back into work
Recognition and success in 2017

On 5 May, Our Parklife was successfully accredited for Investing in Volunteers (IiV) – the UK quality standard for best practice in Volunteer Management. The culmination of over a year of hard work to evidence the amazing contribution that Park Champions make on the Park and recognition of the rewarding, well managed, fun and dynamic programme.

In July, Our Parklife was also awarded a Highly Commended in the The Experian Award for Building Stronger Communities category at the Business at the Community  Responsible Business Awards recognising our role as a catalyst for local regeneration in East London.

Future plans

The Park is a vibrant community which continues to grow and develop and Our Parklife looks forward to building on our success to date as exciting new organisations and institutions move onto the Park.

The CIC is a unique partnership comprising: ENGIE, principal contractor for estates and facilities management; idverde, the parklands management sub-contractor to ENGIE; Renaisi, a local social enterprise specialising in regeneration; and environmental and social regeneration charity Groundwork London. The unique mix of expertise that stems from our founding partners enables us to design new and innovative services and ways of working with Park partners.

Our collective aim is to create measurable, positive social impact for local people through how the Park is managed and maintained by involving local people in services, activities and events. The income we receive for the services we provide is reinvested in realising our aims.

Our key projects include:

  • Developing our services and opportunities to generate revenue
  • Developing new and innovative ways to support local people into jobs on the Park
  • Consulting with our stakeholders

Read the full Our Parklife Annual Report 2016 to find out more about the positive social impact of our work on local communities and our plans for 2017.

If you would like to know more about volunteering or opportunities with Our Parklife, please contact us.

Volunteers build a bike in a day at Mobile Garden City!

One of the many ways that Our Parklife helps to deliver the legacy of London 2012 is by providing opportunities to volunteer in the local community.

Last week, a team of corporate volunteers from ENGIE, joined Groundwork London at Mobile Garden City in the latest in a series of Corporate Volunteering Days, organised by Our Parklife.

Mobile Garden City is an innovative meanwhile community garden using pre-development sites on the Park that is open from July 2015 to October 2017. Following this, the garden will move to a new location on the Park. The aims of the garden are:

· To create a welcoming, beautiful and mobile public garden;
· To demonstrate how to create productive and vibrant community spaces on meanwhile site; and
· To provide food growing, socialising and training opportunities for the whole community.

ENGIE volunteer teams undertook a variety of practical tasks to improve the community garden, facilitated by Groundwork London, including; constructing work benches, weatherproofing and decking out a donated greenhouse, creating a boardwalk, harvesting and planting.

A ‘Build a Bike Workshop’ was also organised with a local community bike social enterprise that has set up a brand new workshop at the same site as Mobile Garden City. The workshop involved a team of six people building a roadworthy vehicle, utilising a selection of parts including two donated bicycles from ENGIE. The team had access to a wide range of tools, plus an expert cycle builder and mechanic, Lawrence Mohammed, who assisted and shared his extensive knowledge and advice on general cycle safety awareness and basic servicing. The bike will go to good use initially as a pool bike for ENGIE employees who work at the Park.

“Such a joy to host today; loads of fun, an incredibly motivated, engaged and interesting group, the perfect first day in the new Pro Bike Service workshop!” 

Lawrence Mohammed, Director/Had Mechanic, pro bike service

pro bike service offers their services to everyone in the local area and have consciously chosen to do this via a gift economy. This means they gift their services and offerings where needed (except any parts which clients need to purchase) and are open to receiving gifts in return. A pop up workshop will be at Here East on 4 August between 12-2pm for anyone who would like to learn more about bike maintenance. Find out more here. You can see highlights from the day including the new bike on its first outing here.

If you want to find out more about volunteering on the Park, please get in touch with us here.

Park Champions help the mighty London Lions!

We would like to say a massive thank you to all Park Champions who participated to the London Lions games this season.

Thank you for helping guide or drive ticket holders to the Copper Box Arena, selling over a thousand 50/50 tickets and hundreds of programmes.

Your enthusiasm and passion has been very much appreciated by all. Plus, a special thank you to Pauline for making the crowd do the Mexican wave at the play off game!

Lolly Marlbourough, Marketing director for the London Lions said: “Thank you to all Park Champions for your support and enthusiasm in welcoming customers and assisting varied crews. You’ve all been great and made such a difference.

lions

Park Champions assist a Royal visitor

Our buggy drivers provided services for VIP visits on the Park including for the guests of HRH Princess Anne, who was visiting the ArcelorMittal Orbit to celebrate her appointment as Patron for the Foundation for FutureLondon, the charity created to help realise the potential of the Park’s Olympicopolis project. Park Champions met with HRH Princess Anne and Sir William Castell to talk about the Park Champions role and the changes they notices between the Olympic Games and the future plans of the Park.

Royal Visit