How LOCOG cheated the Woolsack knitters – UPS could help
MAYBE the unpaid knitters of Woolsack, an official Olympic scheme to knit 14,000 woolly cushion covers to brighten up the athletes’ rooms in the London Olympic Village, should get in touch with UPS. The US postal firm is looking after the logistics for the London Olympics. Its website trills:
If UPS can handle a logistics challenge the size of the Olympic Games, just think what UPS can do for your business.
The site also features a Time and Money Calculator, to see “how money you could save”.
The UPS London Olympics deal is called the ‘FINAL MILE SERVICE’. All packages destined for the Olympics Park from January 10 2012 have been subject to a surcharge. Packages earmarked for any of the UK’s 34 Olympic sites are held in a depot. Going through UPS is the only way documents and freight can reach the venues, unless an operator has passed the Vendor Certification Programme.
Single packages start at £5.00, with a multi-package discount down to £2.00 each for five packages or more. Freight is £45 per pallet. During security lockdown each package is subject to an additional £20 charge for packages and £60 for freight.
Persuading UPS to take charge of the cushions might be the Woolsack knitters’ best chance to getting their covers to their intended targets. the scheme, supported by the Craft Council, the Campaign for Wool and the Crochet Guild, is one of thr Games’ ‘Inspire’ projects, part of the Cultural Olympiad.
The project enables anyone to contribute to making a cushion from British wool. It is intended that these will be given as a personal welcome gift from the people of Britain to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
But that won’t happend because the London Organising Committee of the Olympic games (LOCOG) says its loyalty lies to its commercial partners, like UPS.
The Woolsask website explains how after lots of form filling and meetings a plan was agreed:
Last April the leaders of the Woolsack project, Sue Blacker and Jane Cooper, had a meeting at the Crafts Council with one of their staff, the Head of Olympic Villages and the person who would be our Village contact. A plan was created: to complement the great ideas they had for creating a real village atmosphere in the Olympic Village Plaza we would have a stand in the Plaza where athletes could collect their cushions. Arrangements for storage, security screening, and using the daily Olympic e-newsletter to inform athletes were discussed in detail.
And then LOCOG changed their mind. There would be no stall in the Village, but the cushions could be distributed at regional pre-Games training camps and via the competing countries’ markting departments. And then LOCOG changed their minds:
Over the winter we focused on trying to use the regional training camps as the most appropriate way to get cushions to the athletes who wanted one but, despite the efforts our Co-ordinator was making, the rules about giving gifts to athletes became more and more restrictive. Finally we were informed that it was no longer possible for us to have the arrangements we had discussed at length with our LOCOG Inspire Co-ordinator for distributing the cushions to the athletes at their regional pre-Games training camps, or indeed any other arrangements for access or contact.
Gamely, the Woolsack knitters press on:
But we have been so inspired by your efforts to be selected to compete in the Games that we are finding other ways to enable you to have a cushion. Just as you have overcome obstacles and difficulties to be chosen to represent your country, we are determined to overcome everything and get cushions to those of you who would like one.
We may no longer be able to contact you through NOC’s and NPC’s, but you, your sports associations, coaches, officials and NOC’s/NPC’s are allowed to contact us. We can then establish the way for you to receive your cushions that best suits you and your team.
These peoples volunteered to help the Olympics. But they’re not paying, so they get shunted. So. Will UPS now get involved and agree to take delivery of the cushions and distribute them to the athletes in the Olympic Village? Will they feel inspired..?