Volunteers taking part in COP26 this autumn gathered together for the first time today, Thursday 7 October, ahead of starting their role with the UN Climate Change Conference, which gets underway in Glasgow on 31 October.
The 1,000-strong team of volunteers, who were selected from 10,000 applications, came together for an orientation event at Strathclyde University’s Technology and Information Centre to receive their final training and receive messages of encouragement.
To celebrate the occasion, mascot Bonnie the seal stopped by to interact with and congratulate the selected volunteers.
Known most notably for being the much-loved mascot for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Bonnie is being recycled for COP26 to engage with volunteers. She will pop up from time to time to support and spread excitement amongst those volunteering at the international summit.
As part of the induction day hosted by Sanjeev Kohli volunteers also learnt more about climate change, discussed the role volunteers will play in the event and heard messages of support and thanks from COP26 president, Alok Sharma and Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Susan Aitken.
Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken said: “The UN Climate Change process is about collective action and everyone stepping up to make a difference. Our incredible COP26 volunteers are doing exactly that, welcoming the world to our city for such a crucial moment in the future of our planet. The volunteers coming together for the first time marks an important milestone in this fantastic volunteer programme and an inspiring day for all involved, made all the more exciting by a visit from Bonnie the seal.”
Around 1,000 volunteers will support the staging of the international summit hosted by the UK at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow between 31 October – 12 November 2021.
The COP26 volunteers come from a broad range of backgrounds, with the youngest aged 16 and the oldest aged 78. More than 40% of the volunteers live in the host city, with a third under the age of 26 and a fifth using the conference as an opportunity to volunteer for the first time. Together, they will provide delegates with a warm welcome at key transport hubs, accommodation hubs, active travel routes and at the conference’s Green Zone.
Joining today’s event straight from a visit at Our Lady of Peace primary school in the city’s east end, Bonnie the busy seal from Argyll will also spend some time in local schools over the coming months as a People Make Glasgow Greener ambassador, helping encourage youngsters throughout the city to protect the planet.