chris english_mcdonalds_25-01-12Chris English, McDonald's head of Olympic volunteering, talks us through the Games Maker programme and his joy at watching Britain's coxless four clinching gold at the Athens 2004 Games in our latest sponsor 123 feature.
What is your role in your organisation's involvement of the Games?

As McDonald's head of Olympic volunteering I've been working with London 2012 on our involvement to help find and recruit up to 70,000 Games Maker volunteers. The Games Maker programme is the name that's been given to the volunteer initiative for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The volunteers will be needed to offer their time, energy and expertise undertaking a wide range of roles to make the London 2012 and Paralympic Games a success.

All eyes will be on London for the duration of the Games next summer and for many of the spectators who come to the UK for the Olympics, these Games Makers will be the face of London 2012 so it's really important that the organising committee selects the right people and equips them with the skills and knowledge they'll need and we're happy to be able to play our part in making this happen.

games maker_24-01-12
Why does your organisation support the Games?

McDonald's has been Official Restaurant of the Games since the 1976 Olympics. The Olympics is one of the few truly global events as we're a global company – operating in over 100 countries – it's a great fit for us. Many of our customers and our people love the Olympic Games and our sponsorship means that they can get involved in ways that they would otherwise not get the opportunity to do so.

McDonald's is involved in two clear ways in 2012. Firstly, we have the British supply chain, quality standards and scale to meet what is a unique challenge in terms of helping to feed visitors to the Olympic Park, and secondly, we're using our expertise in customer service and people development to help recruit and train the volunteers.

This is the first time an organising committee has looked to sponsors to support the volunteers. We have a proven track record in people development which we are extending to the volunteers.

Our employees know a fair bit about working in a fast-paced, busy environment – they provide quick and consistent customer service to three million people each day and we're proud to be using this experience to help provide the volunteers with the skills and confidence to deliver an outstanding Olympic Games.

We're providing trainers, materials and facilities to help select and train the Games Makers and we're also using our nationwide presence in the 1,200 restaurant communities across the UK to spread the message about volunteering to people from all walks of life and every corner of the country.

Once applicants have been offered and accepted a Games Maker role, they'll need to attend a minimum of three training days (approximately 15 hours in total) to get the perfect insight into what being a Games Maker is like. These sessions will be run by London 2012 and will include a mix of orientation, role specific and venue training.

We're proud and excited to be playing our part in delivering an outstanding Olympic Games.

Britons Steve_Williams_James_Cracknell_Ed_Coode_and_Matthew_Pinsent_24-01-12
What is your favourite Games' memory?

My favourite games memory is the British coxless four rowing gold medal at the Athens Games in 2004. We were away on holiday in a cottage opposite the church where Bridget Jones's Diary was filmed and remember all the families crouched around this portable TV getting so excited as the race was so close. We won the gold by about a second and I remember crying with joy and just being on a high all day. That's what the Olympics is all about bringing people together over one event, I only ever follow rowing at the Olympics.