Monday, August 13, 2012

Southwark's Olympic Legacy

When Labour won the local elections in May 2010 we were determined that Southwark should have an enduring Olympic legacy after the 2012 games.  The previous Lib Dem / Tory administration had taken an approach of grudging indifference to the Olympics, and seemed to be of the opinion that the games would be an expensive regeneration exercise for East London which had nothing to do with Southwark.  They even asked questions in Council Assembly about how difficult it would be for a resident of Peckham to get to the Olympic Park compared to someone travelling from Paris.

As we have seen after the last two weeks of sporting excitement such a grudging approach was absolutely wrong.  Many Southwark residents attended the Olympic venues and countless others have enjoyed the big screen at Potters Field next to Tower Bridge, or many of the other Olympic activities which have been taking place across the borough.

And when the Olympic torch passed through Southwark on the 26th of July 161,000 people - more than half the population of the borough - turned out to cheer it on.

At the end of 2011 we announced the ten projects which will each share in the £2 million of capital investment to leave improved sports facilities for Southwark residents - from the £400,000 to be invested in the historic Herne Hill Velodrome to the £490,000 for Camberwell Leisure Centre's sports hall; and from the £150,000 for a new BMX track in Burgess Park to the £375,000 to be invested in football facilities in Peckham and Nunhead, the 2012 games have provided a real opportunity to upgrade some of our sporting facilities.

But more than the capital investment, we also worked to ensure that Southwark was ready for the Olympics, bringing together organisations and individuals from across the borough to look at the cultural offer which was available; to coordinate volunteering opportunities; to encourage healthy lifestyles and to promote involvement in sport.

We took advantage of the opportunity we were given as a council to purchase Olympic and Paralympic tickets, and as a result some of the children we care for as a council and 50 other residents nominated from across the borough have been given the opportunity to attend Olympic and Paralympic events.

The motto of the London 2012 games has been "Inspire a Generation", and in Southwark we have embraced that approach in order to make sure that 2012 was not something which happened to other people in other parts of London.

And as we look to the future we will work to ensure that the progress that we have made to date, of inspiring a generation - and people of all ages - in Southwark to enjoy the Olympics and Paralympics and live happy and healthy lives in the future continues to be delivered.

No comments: