Connecting local people to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
What's been happening
Boxing Road to Tokyo
Our Parklife is recruiting volunteers for an exciting event coming up onto the Park: Boxing Road to Tokyo.
In March, more than 350 boxers from more than 40 countries will take part in the Boxing Road to Tokyo European qualifying event at the Copper Box Arena. Seventy-seven male and female boxers will secure qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The competition is sanctioned by the IOC and will take place across eight men’s and five women’s weight categories. 50 qualification places are available for men and 27 for women.
Volunteers are required to assist the arrivals and accommodation team as well as take on roles in sports information and spectator and venue services. Please apply here, stating the role and shifts you are interested in.
Our Park Champion Volunteers are the eyes and ears of the Park, and many of them are local residents who have seen the area change and evolve over many years. As the Park is such a dynamic place, changing all the time we like to ensure our volunteers are fully up to date with everything that’s happening.
Throughout the year we organise get-togethers for our Park Champion volunteers to hear directly from Park experts, local businesses and future partners. This is also a great opportunity for volunteers to meet socially and share their knowledge. You have to be a registered volunteer to sign up, so if you’re interested, complete the registration form here.
In 2016 we organised get-togethers with the following partners:
In January 2020, UEL/West Ham United Foundation students in sports management participated in a career workshop with the ENGIE Park team. This workshop allows students to have an insight into the world of Facilities Management including soft services, hard services, security, visitor services and events so that this can then be applied to their courses.
The students were then provided with a number of role-play scenarios set in our venues which aimed at getting students to think about Facilities Management and the many challenges faced on a regular basis. They were provided with briefings and tasked with creating innovative solutions to tackle real life operational challenges.
To arrange or enquire about this, please email: email@example.com
Thank you to all the Park Champions who have responded to our end of year survey. With over 220 responses, the data we have collected will clearly help us shape the programme. We will respond to the ideas, potential areas for improvement and issues raised in the following month.
It was a pleasure to read your highlights of the year and great to see that the satisfaction rate of the programme is over 82%.
As a thank you, everyone who completed the survey was entered into a prize draw.
And the winners are…
1. Nawal Adam, winner of a £30 shopping voucher 2. Gloria Allberry, winner of two tickets to the ArcelorMittal Orbit 3. Mary Oatey, winner of a guaranteed space for the volunteering opportunity of your choice
It was a pleasure to host our annual celebration event on Thursday 26 September.
It was a great evening that gave us the opportunity to say thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who have already contributed over 14,500 hours to the Park this year. We hope all Park Champions and stakeholders had a great time and we thank you all for coming!
It has been another fantastic year where the volunteers have welcomed and advised visitors, guided them through the Park both on foot and on the buggy, got their hands dirty creating wildlife habitats, monitored butterflies, helped keep the parkland tidy and supported over 40 events. The volunteers help has been essential to the Park and the good running of our services and we couldn’t have done it without them.
We are now looking forward to another exciting year in 2020! The East Bank developments will bring a number of new stakeholders and with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games coming up, the Park will host a number of exciting sporting event qualifiers. Once again, another year means the development of new exciting roles, fantastic events and millions more visitors to the Park. So, keep your eyes peeled for exciting new opportunities; there will definitely be something for everybody to get involved with.
Congratulations to Edward on winning Volunteer of the year!
Park Champions have voted and Edward has been awarded Volunteer of the Year!
Edward has been a Park Champion since the very beginning and has contributed thousands of hours of his time to the Park. From being a Buggy Driver to a Community Guide, an Event Volunteer or a Team Leader, Edward’s passion for the Park transpires in all his roles. Always enthusiastic and ready to help customers and fellow volunteers alike, Edward is a real asset to our team and definitely deserves this recognition.
Congratulations Edward! It’s a real pleasure to have you in the team!
Congratulations to all our volunteers of the month who made up
the shortlist for the Volunteer of the Year award:
Our Biodiversity Champions were proud to receive the Volunteer Group of the Year award!
The Biodiversity Champions have made a hugely valuable contribution to the Park and the aims of the Biodiversity Action Plan. Our team of Photo Champions have been capturing the changing Park for the past few years, a historical record that has also helped us in managing and looking after the habitats. They have taken well over 2000 photos as part of the project! This year, we added a new team of champions to monitor butterflies – although this is a new group, they have worked hard over the summer months to collect data on the Park’s butterflies and have submitted hundreds of records so far. The Biodiversity Champions are a dedicated and enthusiastic team and winning group of the year is well-deserved!
MLB Gold Team
Over 300 volunteers were recruited and trained, ready to be deployed for the MLB event on June 28-30.
Across the weekend, volunteers from all backgrounds, with all types of skills and from all ages (11 to 73!) gave up over 5,700 hours of their time to enhance the customers journey and provide the unique American baseball experience. And the winners were…the Record attendance Team and Team Leaders!
A team of MLB Diamonds have dedicated 34 hours of their time during the 3 event days, always ready to assist and sharing their enthusiasm and energy with customers.
The MLB Diamonds Team Leaders’ role was essential to the good running of the event and the volunteer programme. Whether in the London Stadium or on the last mile, team leaders looked after their team with energy and positivity, allocating breaks and ensuring their safety and welfare. On top of this, they also took on their MLB Diamond role of welcoming and assisting customers, ensuring that everyone had an outstanding experience for this historic event as the Boston Red Sox met the New York Yankees for the first ever Major League Baseball game taking place in Europe. Team Leaders ensured that their team members had the recognition they deserved and it’s our turn to ensure that they get theirs.
This year the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) East Works Awards, (formerly the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Apprenticeship Awards) took place on 1st November 2018 at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is an annual celebration of the diversity of talent, innovation and businesses on and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park who participate in the LLDC East Works programme.
The East Works programme is a social-economic programme that seeks to connect the people of East London to the different opportunites created in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With a focus on four themes; Work Skills, Working Capital, School Work and Work Places.
The evening began with a drinks and food reception for everybody to network and to showcase the brilliant case studies of the nominees. Taking a seat in the theatre hall, everybody was treated to a dance showcase by Kloe Dean, Myself UK Dance Company. With the evening presented by Sonita Alleyne and Jone da Cruz, a former apprentice on the park who worked his way up to site manager for construction company.
The highlight of the evening was our very own Ricky Quy who was victorious and came away with the coveted Individual Achievement of the Year award. Ricky began his journey back in November 2017 on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where he completed a short work trial as a Cleaning Operative at the London Aquatics Centre where he demonstrated a dedication to completing his role to the highest standard which led him to secure a full-time position on the Park. Prior to this role Ricky had suffered from anxiety and a lack of confidence which had stopped him from working in the past. Groundwork and ENGIE continue to work closely together to support Ricky in his role and demonstrates that he understands the demands of the role, asks lots of questions and is now a ‘go to’ member of the team who colleagues depend on and respect. He is reliable, committed and a real credit to a team that works incredibly hard to keep one of the most iconic venues in the Park spotless!
Ricky is one of 250 people who have started work through Able Capable Employed (ACE). Groundwork London is hoping to support a further 600 people into work through the programme. ACE provides tailored employment brokerage for individuals living with a disability or long term health condition. Each person works with an employment coach who provides specialist advice, wage subsidies and job matching.
ACE is funded by Building Better Opportunities (BBO). Building Better Opportunities brings together funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF).
If you are an employer who would like to talk to us about offering ILM job opportunities or an individual who is looking for support to get into work, please contact the ACE team at Groundwork London on 020 7922 1230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The evening ended in all the individuals who have taken part in the East Works programme presented with a Making It Happen award. In recognition of their efforts and commitments over the past year. They all represent the best of what East London has to offer.
Here is the full list of winners:
Apprentice of the Year: Jack Connolly
Individual Achievement of the Year: Ricky Quy
Intern/Trainee of the Year: Michelle Nyachuru
Employer of the Year: The Camden Society at Union Kitchen Café, Timber Lodge
Innovation of the Year: STEP
Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: The Camden Society at Union Kitchen Café, Timber Lodge
LLDC Ambassador Award: Lianne Peterkin
Entrepreneur of the Year: Johnson Wong
Education Partnership of the Year: Class Of Your Own
Making It Happen Partnership of the Year: Flipside
This year over 80 Park Champions and Stakeholders came together for our Annual Celebration of our Park Champions at The Timber Lodge on 11th October 2018. It was an amazing evening consisting of speeches from stakeholders, awards, food and drink to celebrate all the amazing hours that the Park Champions have invested in the last year.
In 2018, volunteers have dedicated over 10,000 hours this year. This was achieved through a number of ways from welcoming guests at the information point, the running of the mobility service across the park, educational visits, community guiding, conservation works and a vast number of events throughout the year – including Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, West Ham United, London Lion matches and much more!
We are sure that 2019 will be another exciting year for our Park Champion Volunteers continuing the great work connecting the local community to the park and providing support for the thousands of visitors the park receives each year whether it be at concerts, sport events, school visits or the mobility service.
And it ‘s Bronze, Silver and Gold to the Park Champions!
Gold, Silver and Bronze pins were awarded to those volunteers who have dedicated over 50 hours (Bronze), 100 hours (Silver) and 150 hours (Gold) in 2018. It is our way of saying thank you for all the hard work and effort the volunteers put in all year round rain or shine!
Volunteer of Year goes to….Hilary Victor!
As voted by our Park Champions Hilary sweeped to Victor(y) to claim Volunteer of Year.
Hilary has already volunteered over 400 hours this year and has been involved in a range of roles. Hilary’s enthusiasm is incredible and makes her not only a fantastic team member but also a very knowledgeable guide for Park visitors.
Congratulations to all that were shortlisted for the award:
Volunteer Group of the Year winner: Team Leaders
Whilst it was a close call this year between all our finalists, the Team Leaders have been and continue to be an essential aspect to the programme. From being a great help to the Information Point Duty Managers or the go between for event organisers and the volunteers. The Team Leaders are leading by example in everything they do and have gained their team’s respect. Always helpful, positive, professional and knowledgeable, they are a real gift to the programme.
Congratulations to all that were shortlisted this year:
London Lions Team
Partner of the Year Winner: International Quarter London
Park Champions have been delivering tours for International Quarter London since October 2017. First welcoming Transport for London employees onto the Park with a weekly 45 min lunch time tour of the South Park, Park Champions have continued this service for the Financial Conduct Authority and Unicef this Summer. Over 200 employees have attended these tours and the feedback we’ve received has been great!
Our Parklife has also worked with IQL to activate the gardens with activities for their tenants, both employees and residents. Hundreds of flowers and herbs were planted as part of the workshops delivered.
A big thank you to all partners shortlisted at this year’s event:
London Stadium 185
International Quarter London
London Lions Basketball Club
We look forward to seeing everybody again next year!
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:
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:
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
London Lions Basketball Club
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.
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
Loughborough University London
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.”
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.
Annual Park Champions Celebration 2017
Bronze pin - 50 volunteer hours
Silver pin - 100 volunteer hours
Gold pin - 150 volunteer hours
If you want to find out more about volunteering on the Park, please get in touch with us here.
General manager for Our Parklife, Rowan Longhurst, attended the launch of the trial
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, had a chat with a Park Champion at the launch
Hop on the free autonomous shuttle bus at Timber Lodge Cafe
Park Champions will answer your questions
Park Champions are gathering feedback from all passengers
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.
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.
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