Cultural Playing Field

London 2012: Delivering a Legacy for the Whole Country by Robin Simpson
December 11, 2009, 4:07 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , ,

On Thursday I was in London to speak at the Westminster Briefing event ‘London 2012: Delivering a Legacy for the Whole Country’. Although the event looked at a wide range of aspects of the 2012 legacy, the main focus of the day seemed to be on creating a legacy of increased participation in sport. The delegates included representatives of sports national governing bodies, local authorities and sports funding organisations and the event was chaired by Tim Lamb, Chief Executive of the Central Council for Physical Recreation. The keynote presentation was by David Brooker, Director of Legacy at the Government Olympic Executive (GOE). David stressed the Government’s target to get 2 million people more active by 2012 but also talked about the desire to get tens of thousands more young people giving time to their local communities as a result of London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also mentioned GOE’s plans for a national campaign to encourage everyone across the country to find their ‘Olympic moment’. Sports commentator (and former BBC Sports Editor) Mihir Bose was an entertaining speaker: he predicted that London 2012 would be a great games but would be like Wimbledon tennis – we will enjoy the spectacle but the legacy of sport in this country will not change as a result. I spoke about the opportunities presented by the Cultural Olympiad to increase participation in the arts and to truly spread the legacy of London 2012 across the whole of the UK. I also reiterated my worry that the ambitions of the Cultural Olympiad organisers are still too limited: talk of thousands of local events over four years seems like a missed opportunity – surely we should be creating tens of thousands of Cultural Olympiad events and using the massive scale of voluntary arts activity in the UK to present an enormous, unique, diverse, eclectic and widespread festival of culture to the world.

Robin Simpson.

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