P&G supports families and friends of athletes – ‘nearest & dearest’ roadshows

Nathan Homer, Olympics Project Director, P&G UK and Ireland

In October, we announced our commitment to support the loved ones of all athletes through our ‘nearest & dearest’ programme, for which we partnered with the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations. This is the first programme of its kind in Olympic history, specifically designed to support the friends and families of Team GB and ParalympicsGB in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It includes the provision of tickets for those closest to athletes, a support website for them and a place for them to meet their athletes away from the public during the Games. The ‘nearest & dearest’ programme also included 17 BOA and BPA roadshows, presented by P&G, which ran between October 2011 and April 2012. For this activity, we’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country from Edinburgh to Exeter, a trip which at 450 miles is equivalent to 17 marathons or 14,484 lengths of a 50m pool.

The roadshows provided families with information about what to expect in the run up to the Games, how best to support their athlete before and during the Olympics Games or Paralympic Games and advice, for example, on dealing with the media.

We asked 72 people who’ve attended the roadshows for their thoughts, and 94% of family and friends of Team GB hopefuls said that they find the ‘nearest & dearest’ programme useful because it offers them the chance to see and support their athletes. Furthermore, 97% of nearest & dearest found that the information provided at the roadshow had better prepared them to support their athlete, and 76% of them said that they now felt confident that they knew exactly how to best support their athlete. Almost all of them (97%) said they’d recommend the roadshows to other friends and families of athletes too.

From our perspective, this was a great opportunity to meet with and celebrate the mums (and family and friends) behind our medal hopefuls, and to show in real terms the benefit of our sponsorship to them, the people it will benefit. Myself or James Nunn (Olympics Project ER Lead for P&G UK and Ireland) presented at each event, talking about our involvement with the BOA and BPA as well as the IOC, the wider ‘Thank you, Mum’ campaign and gave all attendees a goody bag of P&G products – using our experience and brand history to support the mums and families of Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

Each roadshow was presented in part by a former athlete who could offer advice from their own experience, and who did an interview for regional press to drive awareness of our ‘Thank you, Mum’ campaign. The roadshows also gave us an opportunity to meet with the ‘nearest & dearest’ of athletes, with whom we’ll be spending more time during Games Time, and to gather content about what the programme means to them. Parents told us that they were grateful because, ‘One of the worst things about being an elite athlete's parent is the fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time! The more information that we can get from outside our own sport, or from lessons that past athletes learned, the better.’ Another family member said that, ‘The effort to keep us connected and informed is much appreciated.’

This content, and our close work with the BOA and BPA, drives awareness and credible recommendation of the ‘Thank you, Mum’ campaign amongst consumers, loved ones of athletes, and key influencers and demonstrates the benefit of P&G’s involvement with the BOA, BPA and IOC. The ‘nearest & dearest’ programme gives us a chance to celebrate both mum and the wider family and to show them the benefit of our IOC sponsorship throughout 2012 and beyond, through the 10 year partnership.

To find out more about the ‘nearest & dearest’ programme, you can visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Nathan Homer
Olympics Project Director, P&G UK and Ireland

Our Partners

“Our focus is to make certain every member of Team GB has the resources and support they need to reach their full potential on the fields of play at London 2012, so we’ve looked at all aspects that can impact that, including the role of the ‘nearest & dearest.’ All our research and discussions with athletes shows that strong, focussed support, not just at the events but all the way through the build-up to next summer, will help our athletes perform at an even higher standard.”

Dave Reddin, Head of Performance Services, Team GB

Our People

“The roadshow was terrific – thank you. I can now say ‘the BOA advises…’ rather than making it seem like I’m issuing instructions to avoid texting or calling Goldie during Games Time.”

Liz Sayers, mum of Goldie Sayers, athlete

Our Purpose

  • A gift of tickets for each athlete to give to their nearest and dearest to see them compete in their opening round of London 2012
  • nearest & dearest regional roadshows in 17 different venues across the UK
  • An online site for families to access information and chat with other nearest and dearest members
  • A dedicated nearest & dearest area within the Team GB and ParalympicsGB home

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Videos (Click to watch)