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First visit to the athlete's village

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It’s an exciting weekend for the volunteers who are going to be based at the Athlete Village with venue specific training running over Saturday and Sunday. For many people this is their first visit to Dalmarnock in the east end of Glasgow and they were impressed by the newly refurbished station and the Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome close by. For the Glaswegians who hadn’t been to the East End for a while, the extensive regeneration work has made it unrecognisable.

Given it’s the start of the World Cup, we are told that the village covers an area equivalent to 55 football pitches. If you can’t visualise that, let me tell you it is huge! There are 700 new houses in a variety of styles which will be used after the Games for 4,500 people in a mix of social housing and private sale. There will also be a care home with 120 beds. There will be some work to do though; currently the houses have no kitchen facilities and provide 6,762 bed spaces. During the Games, residents will eat in the either the main dining hall which holds more than 2,000 people or in the casual dining area which hold 200. There is also a dining facility for the 4,000 people who will be working in the village.

We had a tour of the village, and of course our first visit to the Polyclinic. The first thing that struck me was that we will be in a fantastic position. The Polyclinic is right across from the dining areas with a big open space in front of us that will be used for pilates classes, social events and one of the most important competitions of the Games; the mascot race. (Come on, Clyde!) We are also beside the International Zone of the village which is the social hub with shops, services, the media centre and big screen coverage of the action. It is also where the teams arrive. Formal welcome ceremonies are performed for each team and as part of that, their flag is raised in a plaza of flags. As the training team told us, for some of the smaller teams, this may be the only time their flag is raised at the Games, so it is an important moment for them.

Although I’ve seen the plans for the Polyclinic many times, it is bigger than I imagined. And more substantial than you expect for what is a temporary structure. Descriptions of tent or marquee really don’t do justice to a building the size of 4 tennis courts that has wooden doors, thick walls and even a lead lined room for X rays. Pharmacy has one of the best spots, just inside the front door and to the side of the 40 seated waiting area. The glass doors right along the front mean it will be bright and we will have an unobstructed view of everything going on in the plaza. We will also be easily accessible by anyone who needs our services.

We were all introduced to Dr Jonny Gordon, Deputy Chief Medical Officer who is an emergency medicine doctor in Glasgow; Gerry McLaughlin, Polyclinic Manager who is senior charge nurse at a local Accident and Emergency Department and Mark Stuart, who as well as being superintendent pharmacist, will also be deputy polyclinic manager with responsibility also for dentistry and optometry services.

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Source: Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Mark Stuart at village training

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