Mike is a store manager and football coach from Kilburn.
“Before London 2012 I was already very active in my volunteering. I’ve been volunteering at Circle Sports for about a year and half now and coaching my own football session since June last year. At Circle Sports i’m working and managing now on the shop floor. This means doing everything from managing staff, placing orders, cleaning, sorting out the rotas, cashing up and training new members of staff. Then on Tuesday evenings I run a free football club for 8-13 year olds at Little Venice Sport Centre from 6-7.
“I’ve learnt a lot of new skills through my volunteering, from gaining my BTEC certificate in coaching to going from a volunteer in sales to managing the shop. Its boosted my confidence and taught me good communication and customer service skills.
“I like getting out of the house, I don’t like sitting indoors so that motivates me. Me being here is me using my spare time efficiently rather than just wasting it. I keep motivated to run the football training because I enjoy it and because everyone is relying on me to do it. It’s my responsibility.
“I think giving young people the chance to do things for free would be a great way to inspire a generation. Most of the things, especially in sport, aren’t cheap. I’m doing my football for free and there seems to be quite a few chances to do that, but you can’t find things like tennis training for free. It’s stuff that people do want to get into but may not be able to afford usually and need the opportunity to try it out. My football training has had 10 new members in the last few weeks so people definitely want to get involved with things thanks to London 2012. Also the free sports training needs to be made more mainstream so people know it’s happening.”
Susan Moore, 64 from Pimlico has been a volunteer since her son started playgroup, but has been inspired to do more after witnessing London’s fighting spirit in the light of the 7/7 bombings.
“I feel London 2012 has had an impact on me personally. I was working in DCMS Permanent Secretary’s Office when the successful bid was announced and was in Trafalgar Square that day. I was then in London on the next day with the bombing. I have also worked with the London Ambassador Project signing in people for training. As City Guide Coordinator have worked with Volunteers on both the Olympic Torch Relays and also a Secret London event with the ROH Owl and the Pussycat. It has been wonderful following it through from day 1.
“It was amazing and inspiring to see how deflated we all felt after the bombing and how our British way of getting back down to it pulled us up and then through again to success. I’ve also been really inspired by the Paralympics and feel this may well change the world on how those who are disadvantaged through disability will be viewed.
“I got into volunteering mainly through being an active parent, volunteering all through my son’s earlier and later years; at his playgroup, then as a trustee with the Pimlico Toy Library, then helping with Cubs and Scouts and later with swimming at the Queen Mothers Sports Hall. I also joined up with one other mother to bring French Classes into an after school club at Primary School. I think we were the first parents to do this and it was very successful.
“As a Yoga Teacher I teach one day and give the proceeds to the local community centre as well as volunteering at the community centre itself which I help to run as a Trustee. Through the City Guides Project I’m actually paid, but I love the fact I work with, help to encourage and see how our volunteers spread their wings and fly, becoming more confident in themselves.
“To me the Olympic Legacy means showing the world we can still put on a good show and hopefully pull ourselves out of recession by our own initiative. I also hope that the London 2012 tag line of ‘Inspire a generation’ will inspire people to see how volunteering is great fun a really fantastic thing to put on your CV.”
Nellie Khossousi, 16 is a student
“Before this summer I had already volunteered at Brownies, completed my bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh award and have volunteered at annual events at the Danish church.
“However, London 2012 has inspired me to always believe I can achieve what I put my mind to. I am starting my A levels in September and seeing Tom Daley achieve A’s and A*’s while training for the Olympics and then achieving a bronze Olympic medal as well as seeing so many other British Olympians achieve a medal has inspired me to never give up. It’s also demonstrated that hard work does pay off.
“I also went to see table tennis at the Excel Centre and seeing so many volunteers helping make the Olympics happen in the Olympic venues and around London inspired me to help in London. I looked at the volunteering section of the Westminster’s Summer in the City booklet and saw an advert for City Guides so thought it was a great opportunity to help people who are attending future events in our amazing city in the future.
“I feel that the Olympic Games have brought people together. The spirit and atmosphere of people who were watching the Olympics, even without a ticket, was amazing.
“We can inspire a new generation by sharing experience of volunteering with friends and family to encourage them to also take up volunteering. Many people will be inspired by seeing ordinary people making a big difference to our society through becoming a volunteer.”
Sandy McKee, 24,
“Until this year I’d say I was fairly inactive in terms of partaking in sports and exercising. I had been very active through my teenage years but kind of fell out of love with playing sport when I left school and wasn’t particularly good at looking after myself and my health.
“I think London 2012 was inspiring and just reminded me the effect sport can have on people. It inspired me to keep up with my training and keep looking forward to the goals I’ve set for myself in the near future. I’ve signed up for the Amsterdam Half Marathon and I hope to run that in less than two hours.
“In terms of setting goals and striving for greatness – I think it’s very important and for a few years, I’d totally failed to recognise that and so I just floated along through life really and it didn’t do good things for my health or wellbeing. That’s the main reason I’ve taken up running now – it allows me to try to be a better person and could enable to have a better life with more new and inspiring people in it. The people I’ve met through running in the last few months are the defining factor in why I’ve stuck with it.
“The Olympic legacy in my mind is how the facilities will be put to good use in the future. That anybody who wishes to will be able to use the Olympic facilities to develop themselves and their passions.
“I think everyone can play a part in inspiring the next generation – by making it clear that sport can offer so much in terms of personal development, and with the right encouragement, coaching and with time and effort, it could dramatically change your life for the better. I’d like to think it’s key to reinforce that it’s not necessarily about competition but about trying to improve your own situation and get the most out of the time you have.”
Kemi Majekodunmi is 16 and a student.
Kemi has volunteered to be a City Guide, providing tourist information to visitors and working at high profile events such as premieres, Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day after being inspired by London 2012 to take on new volunteering challenges.
“Before London 2012, I was fairly inactive, however the London Olympics of 2012 has had an impact on me and encouraged me to be active as well as helpful within my community.
“Before London 2012 I volunteered to work with children within London during different arts and crafts sessions and also complete my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. The thousands of volunteers, co-ordinators, helpers and athletes all over the world that have taken part in the London 2012 games have inspired me to take up volunteering as a City guide. I also felt I could put my energy and time to better use by volunteering rather than doing nothing at all.
“To me, the Olympic legacy is an incredible honour which passes down to the next generation to participate in, to make not only themselves proud but also their countries.
“I think Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis is a great example of how to inspire the next generation. By watching the determination and perseverance through various athletes, younger generations can be inspired to do the same, to take part in something special and rewarding.”
Ama Uzowuru, 29
“One of the most memorable stories from the Olympics which has given me that extra get up and go wasn’t a runners story but the story of a high jumper. When Robbie Grabarz won bronze, he was quite explicit in his after interviews that this time last year, even up until Christmas he wasn’t taking his training seriously and his coach sat him down and said something along the lines of “Buck up your ideas, you’re wasting my and your time. You’re better than this if you would only give yourself a chance…”
“After focusing and taking everything in he started taking his training seriously and ended up winning bronze which is an incredible journey to take. I think after that I thought I should give myself a chance to see if I can achieve or over achieve my running goals.
“Personally I think I hate remaining stagnant. I think it’s important that we set goals and strive for greatness because you take yourself on a journey, you learn about yourself and your potential. Sometimes that’s scary, but after the hard work things are so much better.
“The ‘Olympic Legacy’ is already very obvious to me judging by the increase in the number of runners I see running past my window at work. People of all shapes, sizes and abilities are taking what they have seen on the TV and applying that in a positive way to their lives. You don’t need to be striving for Olympic greatness to find greatness in yourself. That’s the Olympic legacy for me.
“I think the diversity and backgrounds of the winners as well as the humbleness of the athletes will ‘inspire the next generation.”
Leeanne Graham, 27
“Since the beginning of the year I’ve been out running on my own once a week or so to try and lose weight, but I wasn’t very inspired. I have never been into sports and did as little as possible at school, however as the year went gone on and hype for the games built, so did my wish to be more active. I found myself wishing I could do more, that I could run further, faster and longer, that I had a stronger body and was in better shape. Looking at all the athletes, I felt I had let myself down by not being inspired to do anything.
“Having goals has helped me stay motivated and if you don’t set goals you never know what you can achieve. At the start of the year I set a goal to lose weight. I was over 18 stone and was probably on the verge of some serious health issues. As the year went on my goal became not just to lose weight but to be the fittest and healthiest I had ever been. I have inspired others and myself with my journey so far. It’s also important to set those goals, take accountability and push yourself past your limits so that those who look up to you or are around you can see that they can do it too.
“To me the Olympic Legacy means doing something that all generations can look up to and say “they did it and so can I”. It’s also about having the facilities for all to take part in and grow. It will be such a shame if all the greatness that came to London during the games just disappeared now that London 2012 has come to an end.
“We can individually ‘inspire the next generation’ by encouraging and doing. For the first time in a very long time our role models are not reality TV stars but people just like us who have come from where we have come from. By taking responsibility for our own lives and drawing inspiration from the amazing athletes, the next generation will look at us and hopefully say “that’s who I want to be”
Charlotte Fiander, 29
“Before London 2012 I was already fairly active, doing regular training for marathons, half marathons and triathlons throughout the year, however the Games have definitely inspired me to enter – and race – in more triathlons next year and beyond, and to try road cycling events for the first time. London 2012 also had a personal impact on me as I know two of the athletes and one of the coaches who competed in the rowing. One of the rowers and the coach both won gold and it was amazing to see people I know achieve such huge goals.
“I think it’s important to set personal goals because you never know what you can accomplish until you try. They may seem unreachable initially but are completely achievable through hard work. I think this is especially apparent through sport; I am continually amazed how many people tell me that they cannot believe that I have run a marathon and how they could never do that yet I’m sure that their times would be much faster than mine if they weren’t too scared to take that first step.
“Sport also teaches people how to fail, which is as important as learning how to win; it teaches you to recognize and understand your strengths and weaknesses and makes you a stronger person through good and bad experiences.
“To me the Olympic legacy means more people taking a responsibility for their health and wellbeing, and that of their children also. Children are inspired primarily by their parents so hopefully the Olympics will mean that more people give sport a try, leading to a healthier population and healthier children.
“It would be wonderful if this heightened level of sport changed the media’s overall perception of women in the media through the promotion of healthy active women as opposed to “reality TV stars”, but until sponsorship and advertising changes, the media will always promote what their advertises want them to. Hopefully this will change over time.”
Emily Ledbrooke, 32
“I was fairly active already before London 2012 but the Games have had a personal impact on me. Since then I have recently signed up with London running club RunDemCrew West as the Games has reminded me that our bodies are very special things and if we work hard enough we can achieve things we wouldn’t have thought possible.
“Helen & Heather who brought home the UK’s first gold medal were awesome and the fact that they both hold down a regular job and are relatively new to their sport is a true sign of their dedication and what is possible if we really focus, try our hardest and make every training session really count.
“I also think it’s important to set personal goals and strive for greatness because it keeps you focused, encourages every training session to be that bit better than the one before and to remind us how far we have come.
“The Olympic Legacy to me means a positive and inspired life. I was working with the window open the other day and could hear the kids in the garden next door playing ‘the Olympics’, arguing over who was going to be Mo Farah! Also I was running with RDCWest and as we were running the streets of London people were cheering us! Kids chanted ‘sport is good’ and adults gave us a smile, no one ever smiles at me normally when I run!
“The Olympics has reminded everyone how important sport is, not only for a healthy body but also a heathly mind and healthy community. Being active, encouraging friends, running the streets of London (and the rest of the UK) and doing it all with a smile will help to inspire a generation.
“On a different scale it has made me consider returning to teaching and specialising in PE and sports, I really believe that a healthy, sporting community will help a lot of the UKs problems.”
Genna McWhinnie, 39, was inspired by the fantastic success of all the women that made up Team GB…watch below…