‘Kent needs lasting legacy from Games’
County council launches its strategy to capitalise on the 2012 Olympics
A DRIVE to get more young people to take up sport will be the cornerstone of Kent’s efforts to ensure a long-term legacy from the London Olympics in 2012.
Kent County Council formally launched its Olympic strategy on Monday, saying a key dimension of its efforts to benefit from the Games would be a push towards a higher level of participation across all sports, particularly among schoolchildren.
The profile of competitive sport will be given a lift with the staging of biennial Kent School Games in the run-up to 2012.
Dame Kelly Holmes, double gold medal winner at the Athens games, was the special guest at the launch at Paddock Wood’s Hop Farm.
Dame Kelly, the patron of the Kent campaign, praised Kent for being ahead of the game when it came to maximising the benefits from the London Olympics.
“Other councils are starting to make a mark but Kent is one step ahead,” she said.
“We have so much talent in Kent and it is a chance for us to make a difference, not just by taking part but by leaving a legacy.”
Stephanie Holt, who is manag- ing the county council’s Olympic strategy, told an audience of council leaders, community and business representatives and athletes from around the county that it was vital we secure a lasting legacy.
She said: “It is not about what happens in the six weeks of the Games and if it is, we have not done our job very well. We have to look at how we use the Games as a catalyst for participation.”
Kent was aiming to buck the trend of previous Olympics where there was little evidence that staging the Games had led to increased participation, she added.
KCC’s strategy estimates the games could boost tourism in the county to the tune of £324million between 2008 and 2016.
Dame Kelly Holmes with the 1948 Olympic torch at the launch