THE 2014 Commonwealth Games will be one of the UK's biggest sporting events and from today you can sign up to be an essential part to help make them a massive success.
Commuters in Glasgow led the way today as they were encouraged to sign up as volunteers.
To celebrate today's launch of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games volunteer application programme, the city's Central Station became a sports carnival, with Olympic stars and the Games Maker Choir doing their bit in the drive to recruit 15,000 volunteers.
Anthony Joshua, Olympic boxing gold medallist and who won the recent series of BBC TV's Superstars, and Susan Egelstaff, Scotland's Olympic and Commonwealth badminton star, were at the station to promote the volunteer programme.
"Volunteers are at the heart of any major Games,", said Anthony, who boxes at super heavyweight.
"From an athlete's perspective, they are the friendly faces you see around the village and around the competition venues, enjoying themselves and being a part of something special."
Susan added: "Being a proud Glaswegian I am well aware of the friendly and welcoming nature this city is famous for.
"Volunteers have played a crucial role at major sporting events throughout my career and allowed me to prepare as best I can and focus solely on the sporting side of things.
"Glasgow 2014 will be the biggest sporting event Scotland has hosted and, with the help of thousands of volunteers, I am confident the Games will be something special to remember."
In addition to the event at Glasgow Central, awareness raising activity was also taking place at Queen Street Station, Buchanan Bus Station, Edinburgh Waverley and Dundee railway stations.
Glasgow 2014 Ambassadors Billy Connolly, who is the voice of the official mascot, Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and actor Martin Compston have all given their backing to the volunteer programme.
Comedy actress Karen Dunbar also led the call for volunteers when she voiced a film advising how to sign up.
From today, people have until February 28 to fill in an online application form.
Up to 25,000 applicants will be selected for interviews from April onwards and organisers have stated that no previous Games experience is necessary.
Instead, candidates must be helpful and friendly people who will be aged 16 or above when their application is submitted.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of Glasgow 2014, said: "Being a Glasgow 2014 volunteer is the opportunity to have the time of your life and be part of something very special for Glasgow and Scotland.
"Our volunteers will be crucial to the success of the Games. They will be our frontline charm force, promoting Glasgow and Scotland to the world and creating a fantastic experience, not just for the million spectators who will be here but also the billion-plus people who will watch the Games on television.
"Glasgow 2014 is a global showreel for the city and for Scotland and our volunteers have a starring role to play.
"I would encourage everyone 16 or above to think about being part of creating a Games success story for Glasgow and Scotland and apply now as a Glasgow 2014 volunteer."
All volunteers must be eligible to work in the UK and need to be available for at least eight days during the Games, which take place between July 23 and August 3 next year.
Volunteers also need to be available for up to six days ahead of the Games for interviews in Glasgow, training and uniform collection.
As well as general Games roles, Glasgow 2014 needs volunteers with a range of specialist skills, including medical staff, drivers and people with specific sports expertise.
Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison said: "Volunteers will be the lifeblood of the Games, helping to create the atmosphere, energy and enthusiasm that drives success.
"From presidents, to spectators, to athletes, our volunteers will welcome people from all over the world. It's a real opportunity to be part of history."
Last week, the Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government launched a £500,000 funding programme to help people who want to volunteer for the Games.
The Legacy 2014 Volunteer Support Programme will offer financial assistance to help those people facing practical and financial barriers that might otherwise stop them from volunteering.
Councillor Archie Graham, Glasgow City Council's spokesman for the Games, said: "The Games will be a fantastic and memorable event, but to make this happen we will need volunteers to help deliver its many different aspects.
"Being a volunteer is a wonderful opportunity to be closely involved in something that will not come back to the city and country in many of our lifetimes, and will use and develop the skills of so many of us from all kinds of backgrounds.
"There has already been tremendous interest– some of it inspired by the phenomenal impact of the volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
"Now is the time for everyone considering giving their time next summer to contact Glasgow 2014."
Glasgow's Games will feature 4500 athletes in 17 sports in 11 days of competition, with 261 medal events on show. A total of one million tickets will be up for sale.
Fiona McEwan, vice-chair‑woman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: "For the participating teams the volunteers are critical to the quality of every part of their Games experience.
"From the technical officials who ensure the sport competitions are run smoothly, to the drivers who help athletes and officials get around the city, to the people welcoming athletes into the dining room, a friendly and flexible attitude turns a good Games into a great and memorable Games.
"Scots are naturally very friendly and hospitable to international guests and we would urge people across the country to consider volunteering for the Games and sharing in the fantastic experience that Glasgow 2014 will offer people from all walks of life."
TOMORROW: We meet two people who were among first to register to be volunteers
HOW TO APPLY
APPLICATIONS to volunteer at the Games are now open until the end of next month.
All applications are to be completed online at the following website: www.glasgow2014.com/volunteer
Volunteers are asked to confirm 'yes' to all of the following criteria when applying to become a volunteer:
:: Will you be 16 or older when you apply?
:: Can you speak and read English?
:: Are you eligible to work in the UK?
:: Are you available for eight days from July 23 -August 3, 2014.
:: Can you commit and meet the cost of travelling to:
:: Attend an interview in Glasgow?
:: Attend three days of training (four for team leaders) in Glasgow between March-July 2014?
:: Attend an appointment at the Uniform and Accreditation Centre in Glasgow to collect your uniform and accreditations between April-July 2014?
:: Can you provide contact details, including a phone number and e-mail address?
:: Will you agree to a background security check?
It takes about 30 minutes to fill in the application form online.
Scotland's 541 libraries are geared up to help support people without computer access to fill in application forms.
Glasgow 2014 has created a Volunteer Centre in Albion Street, in the Merchant City, where potential volunteers can drop in for advice and assistance.
A contact centre is also available to provide advice and support to volunteers and potential volunteers throughout their involvement with Glasgow 2014 by telephone and e-mail – 030 3333 2014 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org