Published: 10:42, 18 February 2021
| Updated: 15:43, 18 February 2021
Volunteers are again being sought to help at The Open now it has been confirmed the championship is definitely going ahead in Kent.
Organisers the R&A announced last week that it's making plans for a "full scale" model for the 149th Open at the famous Royal St George's course in Sandwich but it is prepared for rigorous social distancing and even to hold it "behind closed doors" if necessary.
Now key partners including Dover District Council have launched Event Makers, a new programme to promote and coordinate volunteering opportunities as The Open returns to east Kent for the 15th time in July.
A statement released by DDC said: "The Event Makers programme follows the success of the 2012 Olympic Games Makers and the Welcome Ambassador Programme for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019.
"The dedicated website showcases a whole host of ways for local people to get involved at www.eventmakerskent.co.uk.
"It is inviting prospective volunteers to come forward and support the local area by acting as its ambassadors during The Open.
"You will play a key role in welcoming people to Kent and White Cliffs Country and ensure that they have an unforgettable visitor experience."
According to the statement the programme provides a range of free training opportunities to help develop volunteers' strengths and support them in carrying out their chosen or allocated role.
Provided by Dover Technical College, it will also lead to a Level 2 qualification in volunteering, which covers safety, first aid awareness and crowd management.
The championship will take place in Sandwich from 11-18 July 2021.
This was due to happen last summer but it was postponed due to the pandemic.
Volunteers will be positioned at transport hubs and other key locations in the vicinity of Royal St George’s Golf Club to assist with wayfinding, as well as providing useful information about The Open, the local area, and how visitors can make the most of their stay both on and off the course.
Other key partners joining DDC and the R&A are Sporting Events UK (based in Canterbury), and Dover Technical College, supported by Kent County Council (KCC).
Cllr Nigel Collor, Dover District Council lead cabinet member for The Open, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this innovative project, supporting local volunteering, and helping to welcome visitors and support events in the area.
"Well informed and happy visitors are likely to stay longer and revisit, adding to the local economy. It’s great news this programme is up and running ahead of The 149th Open.”
Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “Kent County Council has a long and successful track record in supporting and encouraging volunteering activities in local communities and is proud to support this initiative.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn new skills and make visitors’ experience to The 149th Open and to Kent something they remember fondly for many years to come.”
Barry Hopkins, director, Sporting Events UK, said: “We believe in delivering great events for everyone and fundamental to this is the volunteers who make these events happen. We deliver a large number of events in Kent and are looking forward to creating a volunteering legacy for sporting events in the area. In addition, we welcome the opportunity to provide visitors to The 149th Open the very best experience of both the Championship and the local area.”