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Volunteers Week 2015: Meet Peter, our very own Volunteering Olympian!

peter smulders volunteer
Peter – Event Volunteering Ambassador

Prior to the hosting of the 2012 London Olympics & Paralympics, Peter, by his own admission had been relatively inactive, in terms of volunteering.

However, Peter like many others was inspired to get involved and support the London 2012 Olympics & Paralympics, by signing up to become a volunteer ‘Gamesmaker’.

Following a late call up, Peter was selected to become one of 70,000 Gamesmakers that arguably helped make the London Games the success that they were. (Peter was a member of the protocol team for the waterpolo and official translator for Dutch)

Peter’s journey since 2012 has been quite remarkable and has seen him devote countless hours of his time to volunteering and supporting at a range of local charities and organisations, as well as supporting events such as theGreat East Swim, The Women’s Tour and the Suffolk Show. Peter has been inspired to support local organisations that are close to his heart.

In the summer of 2013, Peter was unfortunately made redundant from his work and it was at this time that Peter reflected on life and what he wanted to do going forward. Following his positive experience the previous year (at the Olympics) and the fact he was able to just about get by on taking an early retirement, Peter threw himself into volunteering.

In Peter’s words: ‘I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself at home and wanted to remain active. I want to keep my brain stimulated and enjoy the opportunity to engage with different people.’

Peter is keen to use his skills that he has developed through previous employment and life and enjoys the opportunity to support a number of worthy local causes.

Since teaming up with a number of local charities / groups in the Autumn 2013, Peter continues to this day to lead a very active volunteering lifestyle helping out on a weekly basis at groups including the Disability Charity Avenues East ‘Big Splash’, Needham Market Internet Café, supporting both young people (with CV writing) and older people (Silver Surfers club). Peter also finds time to support his local Box Office at the John Peel Centre.

Peter’s weekly volunteering commitments

  • Mon – Help with Avenues East ‘Big Splash’ 3-4pm – Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre (Stowmarket)
  • Tues – Support with Box Office at John Peel Centre
  • Wed – AM-Support with Job Club (Needham Market Internet Café) – help young people with CV’s
  • Wed – PM-Support Age UK – Silver Surfers sessions – Internet Cafe
  • Thurs – Support at the West Suffolk Hospital (Fractures Unit)
  • Fri – Help with Avenues East ‘Big Splash’ 10am–12pm – Bury Leisure Centre

Peter has also found immense pleasure in giving something back to the local hospital (West Suffolk Hospital) through volunteering in the Fracture Unit, one day a week. Having spent a short time in the hospital, Peter was impressed with how he was treated and wanted to give something back.

Despite leading a busy life, Peter also tries to find time to pursue other interests when they arise and has supported a number of project volunteering roles at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, through his role as a Park Champion.

Peter has recently been selected to volunteer at the FINA World Swimming Championships (Peter is one of only 24 non-russian volunteers), taking place in Kazan, Russia. During his 3 week stay, Peter will be using his language and communication skills to support spectators at the Water Polo Venue.

Rio Olympics – Prospective Volunteer

Peter is still in contention for volunteering at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Having passed four interviews in four different languages, Peter is awaiting his next interview, this time in Portuguese. Peter hopes to be able to be part of the Olympics/Paralympics supporting in the role of Accommodation and Policy. He also hopes to be able to specialise in the sports of Waterpolo / Swimming / Diving.

Peter’s advice to anyone interested in getting involved in volunteering is, “go out and seek opportunities that interest you. You need to be proactive and find the opportunities – they won’t always come to you!”

If you would like to help out with sports and events in Suffolk, get in touch with Daniel:

Daniel King, Sport and Event Volunteering Officer
[email protected]
01473 345421 / 07702 532810