Greeters will welcome the world to Kent during London 2012

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The first group of Games Time Kent Greeters has begun training ahead of their task in welcoming the world to the county for the London 2012 Olympics.

Canterbury Cathedral’s study centre was the venue for 90 volunteers, including 19 from Pas de Calais who have joined up with Visit Kent to jointly promote the two regions, to begin working towards the celebrations surrounding the Olympics.

Greeters will be on hand to provide support and advice to residents and visitors from July 17 to September 9.

They will play an essential role along the route of the Torch Relay, including the special events and overnight stops at Dover and Maidstone, and at key transport hubs such as Dover, Ebbsfleet and Sevenoaks during the Olympics and Paralympics.

“Our team of Games Time Kent Greeters will have a crucial role to play in promoting Kent to visitors during the period of the Olympics,” said Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive of Visit Kent.

“We need to ensure that the county’s tourism industry makes the most of the opportunities presented by the expected influx of foreign visitors, to make sure they are fully aware of just what Kent has to offer in terms of attractions to visit, our historic towns and beautiful countryside and coast, and places to stay away from the bustle of London.

“Our Greeters will be on hand at key points around the county and will share their expert knowledge of, and love for, Kent to helpmake that happen.”

The training will equip the volunteers with information on Kent, the Olympic venues and what’s on where, travel information and how to interact with visitors.

“Our Games Time Kent Greeters will be the first impression many visitors have of the people of Kent,” said Ms Matthews-Marsh.

“Many of those who have been accepted for the roles already have a proven track record in volunteering and working with the public, and the training is designed to hone those skills.”

Visit Kent is looking for at least 200 Games Time Kent Greeters, and there are still places available.

Volunteers need to be over 18 years old with an overriding enthusiasm for the Games, the county and meeting new people.

No specific skills or qualifications are required and full customer service training will be given including access to a fun, online Welcome to Kent training programme.

In return for giving their time for free, Games Time Kent Greeters will be part of a group of like-minded people, benefit from certificated training opportunities, receive free travel and refreshments for volunteering shifts, a free official 2012 uniform and backpack, and a souvenir 2012 pin badge.

The project is funded by Kent County Council’s Sport, Leisure and Olympics Service, and is delivered in partnership with Voluntary ActionMaidstone.

Application forms are available from libraries, volunteer centres and council Gateway service centres across the county. You can also apply online at www.visitkentbusiness.co.uk/gamestimegreeters.

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