School children from East London are being asked to suggest ideas for community events that could take place in the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City.

The ‘Make it our Future’ project will see the Olympic Park Legacy Company and Westfield Stratford City visit schools in Waltham Forest, Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, between now and January, to talk 350 pupils through their ambition to transform the area with new homes, shops, sports venues and community facilities and work with young people through their Citizenship classes.

School workshops will include everything from the positive regeneration impacts of the Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City, understanding their effects on the local community and with exploring the role of key decision makers such as the Government and councils.

Pupils will get to visit the Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City, and will canvass their local communities for their opinions.

In February 2011, a class from each of the four participating schools with the best ideas will get to present their proposals to an expert panel, including Margaret Ford, Chair of Legacy Company and John Burton, Director Westfield Stratford City.

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of Olympic Park Legacy Company, said:

“We want young people to tell us what they want to see in the Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City because they are the generation whose lives can be changed the most by these two high-profile regeneration projects.

“By going into schools, we can get pupils involved in what is happening around them and they can inspire others to think about the opportunities that are coming to East London.”

John Burton, Director, Westfield Stratford City, said:

“Make it Our Future’ is an incredible opportunity for us to engage with the young people in the key boroughs which surround Westfield Stratford City and the Olympic Park. By having our staff work directly with the children we can learn about their interests, concerns and hear their fantastic ideas and enable them to be truly involved in the regeneration that they see from their homes everyday. They are part of the process of regeneration and by listening to young people we can deliver a centre at the heart of their communities.”

‘Make it our Future’ was set up by the Legacy Company and Westfield Stratford City to get young people more involved in the dramatic changes that are happening on their doorstep, and has been developed in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation, an education and participation charity.

It is hoped that by getting involved in the regeneration projects, the young people will become ambassadors for this new area and share their findings with siblings, friends, families and their communities.

Andy Thornton, Chief Executive, Citizenship Foundation, said:

“The regeneration of east London is a great opportunity for local young people to engage with their local community and, importantly, be inspired to take ownership. By working alongside professionals from the Legacy Company and Westfield, the young people can learn about the needs of their community, the purpose and impact of regeneration and the way in which local democracy functions. This means they will be able to develop informed opinions and new skills to participate in the huge changes happening in their local community.”

Students from the following schools and boroughs will take part in the sessions:

  • Waltham Forest – Lammas School and Sports College
  • Tower Hamlets – St Paul’s Way Trust School
  • Newham – Forest Gate School
  • Hackney – Cardinal Pole Catholic School