London 2012 Chief visits Hampshire

Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), is today visiting the South East region to meet some of the many people delivering London 2012 inspired projects and legacy programmes.  

During the day Mr Deighton will enjoy performances from Surrey-based dance company StopGAP and the Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra, meet professors from 13 South East universities which are delivering a £2million Cultural Olympiad project, visit the recently reopened Winchester Tourist Information to hear about their improved access programme for Deaf and disabled visitors and experience the wind tunnel where UK Sport and British Cycling are now preparing young athletes for the 2012 Games. 

The visit is being organised by the South East Partnership for the 2012 Games, which is the coordination group set up to maximise the benefits of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in the region.

Paul Deighton said: “Today’s visit to the South East demonstrates the diverse way in which the Games touch people’s lives.  It also encapsulates our whole bid strategy - the projects I’m visiting today show how communities can come together, using the Games as a focal point to inspire change in their lives.  I’ll also be seeing how some of the country’s top cyclists use specialist facilities in the region to prepare for competition.   In three year’s time, a whole generation of young people will be inspired by these sportsmen and women.  The region has a huge role to play in the success of London 2012 and I’m looking forward to seeing the fantastic work being done here.”

Mary McAnally, South East Nations and Regions Member said: “The South East is delighted to welcome Paul Deighton to the region. The South East Partnership for the 2012 Games has been working hard to make sure we get a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our progress.”

“The Cities of Southampton and Winchester are key contributors and they have some excellent projects underway already.  Southampton has been leading on the Workplace Health project, which encourages workers to be more healthy and active.  The University of Southampton is also collaborating with 12 other regional Universities to deliver the Creative Campus project.  This 2012 project will commission students to generate creative arts projects inspired by Olympic and Paralympic sports.”

“Winchester City Council is doing some great work to encourage tourism during the 2012 Games and this will really boost the local economy.  The council are keen to ensure the city is accessible for disabled visitors.  Their ambition will help us to achieve our aim to be the most Welcoming Region to disabled visitors in 2012, and beyond.”

The day’s programme begins at the University of Southampton where Paul will be introduced to the Creative Campus Initiative.  Creative Campus is a Cultural Olympiad partnership project of 13 universities who will create a major touring arts exhibition in response to Olympic and Paralympic values.  The project has secured £1 million of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) with £1 million additional match-funding being contributed by project partners – the largest ever regional award to a university consortium to support cultural activity.

Paul will also meet two community-led projects: ‘No Man is an Island’, from the Isle of Wight, and ‘Medley Mix Up’ from Southampton; these projects are part of the London 2012 Inspire Programme, as well as addressing local teachers about London 2012's education programme "Get Set".

His morning in Southampton will end with a visit to the wind tunnel at the University, where Team GB and Paralympics GB trained to win their Beijing Golds and where the next generation of cyclists are being developed. 

The South East region is proud of its heritage as the home of the Paralympic Games and there is a major drive to make the region the most accessible and welcoming region in the UK in the lead up to and post the 2012 Games.  Paul will spend the afternoon in Winchester meeting organisations working toward this goal.  He will start with Winchester City Council who has been undertaking accessibility audits and ‘Welcome All’ customer care training.  The audits covered businesses; transport and accommodation providers and the recommendations are currently being implemented including their recently unveiled fully accessible refitted Tourist Information Office.

He will also meet with Winchester’s famous street arts festival, Hat Fair.  Hat Fair has been working with the Independent Street Arts Network and Attitude is Everything to make the festival more accessible to Deaf and disabled audiences and artists.  Part of this work led to the commission of ‘Tracking’, the first ever outdoor show from StopGAP which will be performed in the High Street at 2.45pm.  StopGAP is an integrated professional contemporary dance company which has dancers with and without disabilities. The company is based in Farnham, Surrey. 

Both these programmes are supported by Accentuate, the South East’s £4million legacy programme to improve opportunities for deaf and disabled people across the region.