Written by Dave Cullen
After a gruelling 9 month season and 39,000 nautical miles the 2011 – 2012 Volvo Ocean Race concluded in Galway on Saturday July 7th. The race had begun in Alicante back in October and was followed by 8 further legs in places such as Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Auckland and Miami. The final leg was an in-port race in Galway Bay where French yacht Groupama, were declared the winners. Hosting the finale was seen as a massive boon for the Western region with over one million visitors descending on Galway over the 9 day event. This influx of tourists is believed to have generated more than €100 million in additional revenue for the city of the tribes.
The staging of the festival was undertaken by Let’s do it Global and all of their 1,500 volunteers were recruited by CPL. This year’s finale operated on a much larger scale then the 2009 event with the inclusion of significantly more exhibitors and a Global Village. This 17 acre business expo featured four unique themes all designed to showcase Irish culture and creativity. The four themes were Marine, Innovation, Green and Food. These four pillars included fashion events, craft workshops and Youth activities. Volunteers from a range of diverse skillsets assisted with stewarding, general information, volunteer services, youth programmes, merchandising and on water.
Head of the Volunteer Programme, Mary Jo Parker spoke about her extremely positive experiences with CPL recruitment. “The reality is without volunteers, an event like that couldn’t be run”, “Without an office base like CPL that has an office in Galway and the infrastructure, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver on this programme”. She went on to highlight how vital the recruitment process was to ensuring all of the other elements could fall into place. “Recruitment is at the very front end of the process. It comes first and all the other partners click in afterwards”. Mary Jo also spoke highly of CPL Galway Manager Ronan O’Sullivan and his team. Let’s do it Global worked in a close partnership alongside CPL’s Galway branch for 6 months. “In terms of CPL, without a shadow of a doubt I couldn’t have delivered without them”.
Mary Jo also championed the Trojan work carried out by volunteers throughout the 9 day festival. “Volunteers are the foundation of these kinds of events. We didn’t get the best of weather but the same people came back to work day after day. It was very humbling and inspiring to see”. She was also delighted that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was able to meet with some of the special needs volunteers. She felt that their determination and good nature was a powerful advertisement for the hardworking spirit of the Irish people.