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OLYMPIC REVIEW41Six years ago, when news broke of London'ssuccessful bid to host the 2012 OlympicGames, work immediately began on layingthe foundations for a legacy that would have a lastingimpact far beyond the Closing Ceremony on 12August 2012.The tangible benefits of that work are alreadyvisible around the UK - and in particular in the EastEnd of London, transforming what has been one ofEurope's most impoverished areas. After the Games,the infrastructure, environment, public amenities,transport links and job opportunities in east Londonwill have changed beyond recognition. There will alsobe a wealth of benefits available to the wider Londoncommunity, such as cross-city transportimprovements, as well as more training and jobopportunities for the UK, and the chance for a vastarray of businesses to be involved.The Olympic Park is the largest new urban park to be created in Europe for more than 150 years,while the Village itself - where athletes and officialswill stay during the Games - will be converted intohomes, many available for key workers such asteachers and nurses. Further housing will also be built on the Olympic Park site after the Games.World-class sports venues, such as the Lee ValleyWhite Water Centre will be, and already are in someinstances, used by sports clubs and the localcommunity as well as elite athletes. They will beadapted where necessary and new playing fields willbe created for community use. A range of transport improvements serving thePark are already underway, including an extension tothe Docklands Light Railway (DLR), increased capacityon the London Underground's Jubilee Line and theupgrade of Stratford Station. The communitiessurrounding the Park will enjoy access to the openspace via a network of canal towpaths, footpaths and cycleways. Thousands of new jobs will be created in the Parkalone. Job and training opportunities will be createdfor local people, and local residents will be engagedin the planning of the Games and the benefits thatthe project will bring afterwards. Staging the OlympicGames in 2012 has rapidly accelerated theregeneration of east London, delivering a massive £2 billion boost to the capital's economy, in additionto the wider jobs and skills legacy being deliveredthrough 2012 Games programmes, which are puttingmore than 25,000 people into new jobs. In addition,400 apprentices have been trained on the OlympicPark site, a further 40,000 training places have beenprovided and 50,000 people have received support to get back into work.Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the OlympicPark Legacy Company, says: "The combination of theshopping centre and the Queen Elizabeth OlympicPark will generate an unprecedented number of ?OLYMPIC LEGACYLondon 2012

42OLYMPIC REVIEWopportunities. We are working to expand the trainingbeing delivered so it can also meet some of the futurejob opportunities on the Park. By mapping out theseopportunities now with training providers, we hope togive local people the best possible chance to benefit."The London 2012 Olympic Games will leave arange of key socio-economic legacies at both nationaland local level in the fields of culture, sport,volunteering, business and tourism. Local examplesalready showing the tangible benefits of the Gamesinclude John F Kennedy Special School, which is just800 metres from the Olympic Stadium. The schoolprovides education to some of the most disabledchildren in Newham but has recently experiencedfinancial difficulties and has struggled with theupkeep of its facilities. Largely because of itsproximity to the Olympic Village, it inspired The Lord'sTaverners - the UK youth cricket and disability sportcharity - to try and make a positive difference byhelping children improve their lives using physicalactivity. JFK is just one of 12 schools around thecountry that is set to receive funding to install sensoryrooms and therapeutic swimming pools before thestart of the Olympic Games.Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord'sTaverners, says: "We hope to communicate the greatthings about the Olympic Games to people who havereal challenges with communications. And that's whatled The Lord's Taverners, inspired by the OlympicGames, to create sensory rooms for children whohave a profound disability - to improve their lives andtheir senses through physical activity. The 12 sensoryrooms around the country will be there during theOlympic Games, the week after, the year after and 10 years after. Thousands of young people in the UKwill benefit from them. The work that is being donewith JFK School to improve the facilities availablewould not have happened without the Olympic Games coming to town."Just nine miles north of the Olympic Park, in theheart of the River Lee Country Park, the Lee ValleyWhite Water Centre will host the canoe slalom eventsin little under a year. The surrounding canals andwaterways will be cleaned and widened, and thenatural floodplains of the area will be restored fromfutile contaminated wasteland - in parts - to providea new wetland habitat for wildlife, as well as forbirdwatchers and ecologists, to enjoy.Robert Harding, Olympic Project Officer at theEnvironment Agency, says: "The London 2012 Gameshave been a catalyst for major investment in that partof east London and to regenerate the whole area upto, and beyond the Games. This time next year thefocus of the world will be on that part of east Londonand I think we will put on a fantastic show. TheEnvironment Agency has played a regulatory role inall of the activities involved with ground and water,remediation and planning associated with all of thevenue construction and re development of theparklands. The Olympic project has brought that land back into long-term use. Lots of money has been invested in the clean-up to enable the London2012 Olympic Delivery Authority to create somethingto behold for the future."The official hospital for the Games has received£4.8m worth of equipment for its maternity andnewborn centre, donated by global Olympic PartnerGE. The hospital has invested more than £12.5m inthe centre, which has doubled in size to become oneof the best-equipped in the country. It now has 22cots in a special care baby unit, 20 cots in a neonatalintensive care unit, 16 en-suite birthing rooms, twobirthing pools, en-suite family accommodation and 32 antenatal and nine post-natal beds. Daniel Waldron, General Manager at HomertonHospital, says: "We now have a state-of-the-artmaternity and neonatal unit. Not only are peoplecoming here and enjoying the physical space of thisfantastic environment, but we also have the bestequipment as well. As a result of the legacy of theGames, Hackney can now provide the best medicalservice, and that has already begun to touch people.Those who live in the shadows of the Olympic stadiumcan be proud - the local hospital on their doorstep has been given a donation that means it can offerworld-class healthcare." ?LeftFormerOlympic goldmedallist DeniseLewis visits thenew facilities atHomertonHospitalBelowA childenjoys the new sensoryroom at John F KennedySpecial SchoolLondon 2012OLYMPIC LEGACYMike Silve (www.msphotography.co)