Commonwealth Games furniture set for families in need

THE bed Jamaica’s Usain Bolt slept in the night before he who won gold at Glasgow’s ­Commonwealth Games is among thousands of leftover items of furniture items being distributed to families in need.
Furniture from the Commonwealth Games athlete's village will be given to families in need. Picture: Phil WilkinsonFurniture from the Commonwealth Games athlete's village will be given to families in need. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Furniture from the Commonwealth Games athlete's village will be given to families in need. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A major operation got under way yesterday to move more than 60,000 items including beds, wardrobes, sofas, ­beanbags and lamps used by some of the world’s top sportsmen and women out of the athletes’ ­village in Dalmarnock in the east end of the city.

The initiative is part of a ­legacy promise by the Games’ organisers and politicians to ensure ordinary people benefit from the event.

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A show home has been set up in a flat on the Wyndford ­estate in Maryhill where tenants, ­registered social landlords and community groups can view and collect the furniture.

Bolt was among 8,000 ­athletes – including home favourites ­Eilidh Child, Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch – who stayed in the 35-hectare purpose-built ­village complete with its own medical and religious centres.

Glimpses of the accommodation prior to the event revealed student-style shared rooms decorated with artwork from children across Scotland and brightly coloured beanbags in a shared meeting space.

The removal is being undertaken by Glasgow Housing ­Association, Scotland’s biggest social landlord. Its staff are shifting the items to a central warehouse before they are handed over to people and charities.

Some of the items of furniture may have been familiar to the athletes, having been used during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games before being relocated to Scotland.

The association said it will take more than 2,500 return removal van trips to carry all the furniture. To cope with the task, it has created 12 community ­janitor positions to move and refurbish the furniture items.

Harry Andrew, the association’s project co-ordinator, said: “Everyone asks us which house did Usain Bolt stay in but, to be honest, we don’t know.

“The rooms all look the same and apart from a flag or two on a wall, you couldn’t tell which country stayed there. It’s been quite ­interesting as we’re finding little things the athletes have left behind.

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“We’re finding ­drawings done by schoolkids, maps, badges, clothes and personal belongings. But we’ve yet to find any ­medals.”

GHA chairman Gordon Sloane said: “We know many tenants are struggling to make ends meet in the current economic climate and we’re pleased this furniture has been made available to help people.

“The amount of furniture being uplifted from the ­village is way beyond our ­expectations and while this means this is a huge operation, many ­thousands of people will benefit.

“It is a very tangible way in which the Commonwealth Games has left behind a legacy.”

David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic that the furniture used by the athletes and officials during the Games this summer is going to be distributed to ­families in need in Glasgow.

“Sustainability is high on Glasgow 2014’s agenda and this is a tangible benefit from the Games to the great people of this city, following the excitement of the sporting events themselves.”

Around 700 houses within the athletes’ village will be sold or rented and a 120-bed care home will be put on the site.

The selling-off of furniture and equipment is a common feature of every Olympics in ­recent years as organisers seek to balance the books.

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London Olympic organisers attracted criticism for arranging sales before the Games began.