Games spark a Special response

ORGANISERS of the Special Olympics World Games were overwhelmed by the huge enthusiasm shown by the 20,000 volunteers who turned up for the weekend’s orientation event at the Point Depot in Dublin.

Suzanne Weldon, the Games’ marketing and communications director, described the two-day event as incredible, saying: “We were amazed at the turnout and the enthusiasm shown by volunteers. It also gave us a real sense of the size and scale of the event.”

Catriona Barry, general manager of volunteer services, said they now had no doubt those who had volunteered could be depended on. Work on training and delegating roles to the volunteers, all of whom have been screened by gardaí, is already underway.

In June, competitors from 160 countries, together with about 28,000 family members, will travel to Ireland for the Games.

Last February, organisers launched an appeal for volunteers to work at the Games, headquartered in University College Dublin, and in just 10 weeks more than 10,000 responded. While the year-long campaign to enlist volunteers has reached the desired quota of 30,000 the organisers still need drivers aged over 30 with a clean licence and people who speak more unusual languages, such as Urdu and Tagalog.

Margaret Bourke, the Games’ language services manager, said they wanted people who could speak any unusual language to contact them.

While the organisers have arranged accommodation for competitors, their coaches and competitors, they are still looking for volunteers for the Family Ambassador Programmes.

Those wanting to help out can contact the Special Olympics at www.2003specialolynmpics.com or tel 01-86917600.

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