Building a sense of community ownership towards the Olympic Park is vital to its success after the 2012 Games, according to young people from East London.

It is part of a vision that will be outlined by members of the Legacy Youth Panel to around 100 of their peers at a youth event called ‘Our Time’ at The Lift, Canning Town, this evening (Friday 2nd July 2010). The event is being put on to get even more young people interested in what will happen to the Olympic Park after the 2012 Games.

The Panel, made up of around 30 young people aged between 13 and 21 years-old from the five Olympic host boroughs, was set up by the Olympic Park Legacy Company to help shape the legacy plans to develop and animate the Park over the next 25 years.

They are part of the Legacy Company’s wider programme to capture the imagination of young people living around the Olympic Park. Since November last year, the Legacy Company has reached 3,500 pupils through legacy-themed school assemblies and classroom sessions.

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

“It is truly inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the Youth Panel in helping to shape the future of their area. They are the generation that will benefit the most from the Olympic Park’s legacy.

“They have come up with many innovative ideas and they are absolutely right in that we need local people to feel a sense of ownership towards the Park.

“To do that we must continue to involve young people in the project, and build on our schools programme which has already reached 3,500 schoolchildren.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“Creating a lasting legacy from London 2012 depends hugely on the involvement of our young people, who will be vital in ensuring the Olympic Park benefits generations for decades to come.

“The teenagers on the Panel will be instrumental in shaping the impact the Olympics are to have on their boroughs, and in making the London 2012 Games their own. I hope they can get the message out to their peers to get involved and contribute to securing the legacy London’s youngsters deserve.”

Communities Minister, Bob Neill, said:

“It’s great that young people from local neighbourhoods can be part of the Olympic experience through the Legacy Youth Panel and that they are getting involved in the legacy for the London Games. This exciting scheme is the Big Society in action with young people getting a real sense that the Olympic Park belongs to them and playing their part in designing the area for future generations.”

The Panel, which is run by Fundamental Architectural Inclusion based in Stratford, have spent the past six months working with planners and visiting the Olympic Park, meeting community groups and looking at examples of good and bad developments in their local areas.

At today’s event, they will run through their work in a mixture of performances, multimedia exhibitions and interactive sessions which will encourage other teenagers to learn about the developments, and have their say on what events should be brought to the Park.

Their vision has been fed into the Legacy Company’s planning work.

It includes:

  • Cultural events – space in the Park for the arts, outdoor film and theatre
  • Landmark and recreational buildings that will attract people to the area
  • A network of community centres for all ages
  • Building a sense of community ownership towards the Park
  • The creation of opportunities for work and play
  • Festivals and carnivals for food and music
  • Local mini Olympics and sporting events
  • Fortnightly markets
  • Seasonal attractions such as a summer beach, ice-rink and ski slopes
  • Funfairs

Panel member, Shabaz Hussain, 15, from Kelmscott School, Waltham Forest, said:

“It is great that young people are having their views heard. I really feel like I have contributed to the area’s future. We are the generation that will benefit from the Olympic legacy the most, and if we are part of the process in deciding the future, then we are more likely to stay in east London when we grow up.”

Panel member, Yan Chen, 17, from Blackheath School, Greenwich, said:

“It’s been a year of exciting opportunities as a Legacy Youth Panel member and I feel a great sense of achievement from what we’ve been doing. I’ve had incredible and inspiring experiences discovering more about the Olympic Park and working with other Panel members on ideas for activities young people can enjoy after 2012.”

Panel member, Shuheb Karim, 17, from Sir John Cass Sixth Form, Tower Hamlets, said:

“The Legacy Youth Panel has broadened my horizons and has given me opportunities I never thought I would get.

“It has broken down many barriers by meeting different people from different backgrounds, the elderly in particular.

“The Olympic Park is an incredible opportunity and the Aquatics Centre is beyond belief. It will have a major impact on my community.”

Panel member, Tobi Bello, 15, from Sarah Bonnell School, Newham, said:

“Being a member of the Youth Panel has been a great accomplishment in my life. I have been able to broaden my knowledge, understanding and interest about what lies in the future for my community and it has allowed us to spread the message to our peers.

“I appreciate the privilege I received, being able to see the Olympic Park on numerous occasions as it develops around me.”

Panel member, Shaneice Bailey, 15, Cardinal Pole RC Secondary School, Hackney, said:

“Being a member of the Youth Panel has given me some amazing opportunities to meet Olympic officials and share my views with them. I can see how things are going to change for the better in Hackney and it’s a great feeling to know that you are contributing to the area’s future.”