Otley councillor warns of Tour de France volunteer "shambles"

Ilkley Gazette: (7033750) (7033750)

A former Otley town mayor has blasted the way a volunteer scheme for Yorkshire's leg of the Tour de France is being run.

Councillor Nigel Francis (Ind, Danefield) is one of thousands of people across the county who have signed up to be a Tour Maker for the Grand Depart.

The scheme involves marshalling at a certain point along the race's route to ensure the public have as enjoyable and safe at time as possible - but Coun Francis says it is shaping up to be "a shambles".

He decided to publicly criticise the scheme after discovering that he and many fellow volunteers had been allocated to stages far away from their homes -making a mockery of the strong 'local knowledge' the Tour Makers were meant to need.

Coun Francis said: "We're meant to be 'the eyes and ears' of the event and direct people to local services and give directions, but how can you do that when you've been allocated to somewhere you don't know anything about?

"I've been given Green Hammerton, over by York, which I know nothing about.

"I attended the Tour Makers event in Leeds on May 24 where we were all being told how important the role was and how useful our local knowledge would be, but when I got talking to people around me they all had the same story.

"I talked to man from Sheffield who has been given Harrogate, and a fellow from Harrogate who has been allocated Aysgarth Falls, while a woman from York has been given Otley while I'm going to be over near York!

"I spoke to about half a dozen people and they were all in the same boat. I'm just worried the organisers have done this across the board - I'm not sure they know what they're doing."

Coun Francis also fears allocating people to spots far from their homes will create travel problems come the Tour's first day on Saturday, July 5 - when many roads will be closed before 8am.

The Tour Maker programme is being run by TdFHUB2014 Ltd, with backing from supermarket chain Asda.

On the Tour Maker section of its website, Asda stresses that the volunteers will play an "essential" role and "give directions, keep spectators informed and generally ensure the event is a fantastic experience for everyone to remember."

But it also warns that Tour Makers will have to be "flexible" and prepared for potentially "very early starts".

A spokesman for the Tour Maker Team at TdFHUB2014 Ltd said: "Tour Makers were given the opportunity to specify if they had a preferred location and stage on their application form.

"Their preferences were taken into account but unfortunately not everyone could be assigned to their first choice position.

"Due to the complex nature of rostering almost 10,000 volunteers and the race day requirements, not everyone could be allocated to the positions in some of the more popular areas, or indeed as close to home as they had hoped.

"Some Tour Makers will travel both within their home county and from overseas to take part in this once in a lifetime experience."

Comments (3)

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12:43pm Sun 15 Jun 14

gjh says...

Councillor, please stop moaning. What impression are you trying to give to visitors to our great region- that we are all miserable, parochial whingers? Just get on with it and enjoy the day, it is going to be great.
Councillor, please stop moaning. What impression are you trying to give to visitors to our great region- that we are all miserable, parochial whingers? Just get on with it and enjoy the day, it is going to be great. gjh
  • Score: 7

1:41pm Mon 16 Jun 14

bingleytourmaker says...

I too have been allocated a tourmaker position miles from where i live but we all knew when we volunteered that it would mean an early start and that it would take up a lot of our day. If you didnt wish to give up your time for a fantastic, once in a lifetime, exciting event like this and make it a wonderful day for all those involved including giving a wonderful welcome to all the thousands of people who are coming to Yorkshire to see this then perhaps you shouldn't have volunteered. I'm quite shocked that a tourmaker would actually go to the press like this and try to give the Grand Depart in yorkshire a bad name. It's going to be amazing !!
I too have been allocated a tourmaker position miles from where i live but we all knew when we volunteered that it would mean an early start and that it would take up a lot of our day. If you didnt wish to give up your time for a fantastic, once in a lifetime, exciting event like this and make it a wonderful day for all those involved including giving a wonderful welcome to all the thousands of people who are coming to Yorkshire to see this then perhaps you shouldn't have volunteered. I'm quite shocked that a tourmaker would actually go to the press like this and try to give the Grand Depart in yorkshire a bad name. It's going to be amazing !! bingleytourmaker
  • Score: 3

1:53pm Mon 16 Jun 14

bingleytourmaker says...

I too have been allocated a tourmaker position miles away from where I live but it goes without saying that when you volunteer for something like this, you must be willing to give up your time and trust the organisers to know what they're doing in this mammoth task. As a tourmaker you have a responsibility to try and ensure that everyone involved, including all the thousands of people who are coming to Yorkshire to watch this fantastic event, have the best time possible and get a warm, wonderful welcome. I am shocked that you have gone to the press and tried to give the Grand Depart in Yorkshire a bad name with your miserable attitude. It's going to be amazing!
I too have been allocated a tourmaker position miles away from where I live but it goes without saying that when you volunteer for something like this, you must be willing to give up your time and trust the organisers to know what they're doing in this mammoth task. As a tourmaker you have a responsibility to try and ensure that everyone involved, including all the thousands of people who are coming to Yorkshire to watch this fantastic event, have the best time possible and get a warm, wonderful welcome. I am shocked that you have gone to the press and tried to give the Grand Depart in Yorkshire a bad name with your miserable attitude. It's going to be amazing! bingleytourmaker
  • Score: 3

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