The Join In blog: Tagged "Games Makers"

Rebecca Birkbeck introducing Join In's 'Making Time' research

Join In is changing

Four years ago, it was time to start making history. Now we’re ready for the next adventure.

Join In began life in a golden summer of sport. Following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we had a simple but incredibly ambitious goal: to create a volunteering legacy for the nation.

This was something that no previous Host City had ever achieved.

Honestly, we had no idea where this would take us. There was no guide. No blueprint. But inspired by the irrepressible energy of the London 2012 Games Makers, we had a good feeling.

And we realised something very important.

Following the London 2012 gold rush, our country was more in love with sport than ever. But it wasn’t just about medals and glory. (more…)

Recent News

Lisa feels volunteering has improved her work/life balance
Lisa feels volunteering has improved her work/life balance

“Giving back had made me a better human being”

You probably haven’t given a second thought to how the athletes get from their accommodation to their venues during an Olympic or Paralympic Games. But one of our Legacy Volunteers, Lisa Blythman-Wood thinks of nothing else.

Following on from her time as a Games Maker at the Paralympic Games in London, Lisa is now volunteering in Rio. She has reprised her role with the Transport Team in the athlete’s village and is loving every minute of it.

“It has been another hot day in Rio with little or no breeze, if only this had remained the same for the whole day.



Chris and his fellow volunteers at the Wheelchair tennis
Chris and his fellow volunteers at the Wheelchair tennis

Volunteering at the Rio Paralympics

Join In Legacy Volunteer Chris Thorn loved lending a hand at the Olympics in Rio – now he’s helping out at the Paralympics.

“It’s the Paralympics Opening Ceremony tonight and after two full days of intensive training by Omega’s Josh and Hannah (the best Floridian double act since Mickey and Minnie), I can’t wait to start on Friday – as a Caller in the statistics and technology team at the wheelchair tennis.

If we are scheduled to work in the two big show courts, there will be three of us up in the rafters in a little box – one on radar, one caller, one stats input. It will be our job to activate the service speed gun and to mark the direction of the serve that you see on TV graphics (wide, body or centre) for commentators, coaches, athletes and fans to analyse the game.


The Legacy Volunteers get a few perks for their time – including seeing Team GB House in Rio
The Legacy Volunteers get a few perks, including seeing Team GB House

Rio 2016 volunteers share their stories

Have you ever wondered what the volunteers do at the Olympic Games? The roles and responsibilities are many and varied, so here we introduce a flavour of what some of our Legacy Volunteers have been up to in Rio.



Vin Patel was a Games Maker for the Olympics and Paralympics in London with the event services team in the Olympic Park. In Rio he is seeing a very different side of the action. He is volunteering in Press Operations in the Press conference room. (more…)

The volunteers get to explore Rio on their days off.

Gallery: Join In Legacy Volunteers at Rio Olympics

Our intrepid Legacy Volunteers are having a ball out in Rio, getting behind the scenes and close to the action. Here’s just a few recent highlights.


Chris and the Olympic rings
Chris and the Olympic rings in Rio

Part 4: “He had me at air hockey”. Our man in Rio’s latest report.

Join In Legacy Volunteer Chris gets to know his new role in the Entertainment Centre at Rio 2016 and compares pins with a veteran of 14 Olympics.


Chris’ posts from Rio: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


Day 8

Second day of large delegations arriving into the Village intermittently but I was starting to suffer a case of the munndays.

The arrivals team, accreditation team, baggage and equipment logistics team and village transport team had all improved their processes, which is great for the incoming residents but it meant that our roles in the Welcome Centre team were reduced to being mere trolley boys and girls – up to four of us getting in each other’s way.


Mary is spreading the word about the many benefits of volunteering – and now off to Rio 2016.
Mary is spreading the word about the many benefits of volunteering – and now off to Rio 2016.

Mary heads over to join our Legacy Volunteers

Mary O’Leary – Games Maker, face of Making Time and now Rio bound – spreads the good word about volunteering.

“After all the preparations and planning, my day of leaving for Rio arrived on 27July. Mixed feelings of excitement, pride at getting to this day and exhaustion from packing.

I planned to wear my Join In Legacy Volunteer T-shirt on the flight and change once on the flight, but found the interest the tshirt generated a great help at discussing volunteering and spreading the word.


Legacy Volunteer Chris Thorn on the Rio 2016 giant letters
Chris is already hard at work in Rio!

Part 3: From a Canadian moose to Team GB HQ

Our Join In Legacy Volunteer Chris Thorn begins welcoming teams, delegations and officials – plus gets a sneak peak of where Team GB will be holed up during Rio 2016.


Chris’ posts from Rio: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4


Day 3

After Felipe’s transfer last night, today I started working in the Welcome Centre, just a couple of big tents along from the workforce check in area. It’s a big hub of baggage trolleys, accommodation check-in help desks, lots of people scuttling around to get the correct authorisation and using the right entrance or exit doors and some bean bags for a comfortable respite.


Some of Chris's fellow volunteers are helping out in Rio already
Some of Chris's fellow volunteers are helping out in Rio already

Part 2: Rio 2016 volunteer Chris settles into the Olympic Village

Chris Thorn is a Join In Legacy Volunteer. Having been a Games Maker at London 2012 he’s now able to share what he learned with the team at the Rio Olympic Village. But we’re not sure he can help the Canadians with their moose mascot…

I finally found out what my role of Village Workforce Operations team member meant – it was operating the workforce.

By that I mean scanning their accreditation after they come through the airport-style security, to ensure they are scheduled to work that day, how long their shift is and therefore to determine whether they get one or two meal vouchers. I distribute a few handy information sheets about the village and for their first shift give them a gift. (Hint – the tick tock is not quite as loud as the London 2012 ones).


Brazilian beach with Rio 2016 flip flops
Chris struggled with the terrible weather and dull landscape in Brazil!

Part 1: “The taxi driver couldn’t understand why I was traipsing halfway around the world just to wave an inflatable hand.”

London 2012 volunteer Chris Thorn has made his way to Rio, via Madrid, Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, ready to lend a hand. But not before he’s acclimatised with a few Itaipava beers and some exploration…


“Bom dia! So tomorrow is my first shift as a Rio 2016 Olympic Village Workforce Ops team member. Just under four years since my first shift in the sports viewing room team in London’s Olympic village.

Flying from Madrid to save money, I took the overnight flight to Sao Paolo, where I saw the sunrise and then jumped on another plane to Fortaleza. Greeted by an American taxi driver called Gerardo, who could not understand what I was doing traipsing halfway around the world just to wave an inflatable hand, carry an athlete’s discarded warming up tracksuit, or work in a back office doing admin – all at my own expense and with nothing more than a free hat to take home. Oh well, volunteering isn’t for everyone! (more…)