The six hundred Capetonians who have volunteered their services during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament are gearing up to welcome the thousands of visitors to the Mother City.
"Our volunteers were selected from every corner of Cape Town and represent the full spectrum of our rainbow society," says Garth Kemp, head of the City of Cape Town’s 2010 Volunteer Team.
Ranging from 18 to 75 years of age, the volunteers were provided with basic training in customer service, first-aid, security, tourism, social responsibility, transport and municipal procedures.
Many of them have already picked up valuable experience during the first five test events at the Cape Town Stadium, as well as at the City of Cape Town’s public auditions for local artistes to perform during the soccer tournament.
"From June 5 to July 13, the City’s 2010 volunteer team will work hand-in-glove with Fifa’s 2010 team of 1 200 volunteers. Each group will be deployed to complement and supplement each other in a well-co-ordinated network," says Kemp.
Fifa’s volunteers will assist mainly at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town International Airport, and all the official hotels accommodating the Fifa officials and soccer teams.
Whereas the City’s 2010 volunteers, who will be clearly identifiable in their bright orange uniforms, will assist on a rotational basis, in nine hour shifts from 08:30 to 24:30, at all the areas managed by the City of Cape Town.
These include the Fan Fest on the Grand Parade; the Fan Walk linking the CBD to the Cape Town Stadium; the four Fan Jols at Athlone, Bellville, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain; the Fan Collection Areas at Thibault Square and Pier Place on the Foreshore; the park ‘n ride facility at UCT; and Cape Town’s entire CBD.
Many of the volunteers will also be helping the City’s Sport & Recreational Department in running holiday programmes for learners during the extended school holiday.
"Our volunteers were chosen for their enthusiasm, exceptional social skills and ability to apply practical common sense in just about every situation. Many are also fluent in more than one language," says Kemp.
All of them have already received security clearance and full accreditation for the event.
Based at the Good Hope Centre for the duration of the soccer tournament, the City’s 2010 Volunteer Team will work with a command structure of 13 co-ordinators who will control 47 supervisors who will in turn manage the 540 volunteers by means of two-way radios.
Several volunteers will also assist with the inputting of data for the City’s ‘dashboard’ system. This will provide City managers with real-time information on everything that is happening throughout the entire Cape metropole.
"The wealth of experience and exposure that many of the volunteers are bound to accumulate during the World Cup, will be ploughed back into their respective communities," says Kemp.
Many of them will also remain on the City’s volunteer data base for other future large events.
"I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn new skills and to be exposed to different people and cultures," says Joyce McGowan, a 21-year old resident of Scottsdene, who is currently unemployed.
During the World Cup tournament, she will be helping Timothy Amos of the City’s Sport & Recreation department with a youth upliftment programme for hundreds of learners ranging from three to 18 years of age.
"Together with some of the volunteers who were involved in the test events at the Cape Town stadium, the City will supervise youth programmes during the June holiday," says Amos.