OVER ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND VISIT QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK DURING OPENING MONTH

Over one hundred thousand visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during opening month – Paralympians, disability art and street theatre set to continue to pack the park over the coming weeks.

Since the first phase of opening to the public a month ago, over one hundred thousand people have visited the north part of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and enjoyed the beautiful parklands, Tumbling Bay playground and Timber Lodge community centre, which has held a variety of events ranging from poetry reading to zumba classes since opening on 27 July.

Key highlights have included the Tumbling Bay playground that has been a big hit with children and the Unity Kitchen Cafe which is building a strong morning coffee following at Timber Lodge. People are also starting to discover their own favourite spots on the Park to relax and take in the stunning views of the Stadium, ArcelorMittal Orbit, Velodrome and other iconic 2012 venues.

The Copper Box Arena – the first 2012 venue to reopen to the public – has had more than 26,500 visitors through its door since it opened on 27 July. It has hosted two packed out basketball matches and thousands of visitors have tried their hand at sports ranging from badminton and wheelchair basketball to indoor canoeing as well as take a look at the gym and other community facilities available.

With an exciting and varied line up of events over the next few months – including street theatre, National Paralympic Day, boxing title bouts and the first league match of the arena’s resident basketball team the London Lions – crowds look set to continue to flock to the Park and Copper Box Arena ahead of the Park’s full opening in spring 2014.

Almost 700,000 people have now attended Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s debut summer series of events with thousands more set to enjoy National Paralympic Day on 7 September – a free celebration of disability sports and arts taking place in the north of the Park. This will be a fitting finale to a fantastic summer of events that has seen global stars like Justin Timberlake and Bruce Springsteen as well as children’s favourites like Peppa Pig and Rastamouse perform in the Park and the return of 2012 heroes like Laura Trott, Mo Farah, Richard Whitehead and Usain Bolt.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:

“With wheelchair basketball at the Copper Box Arena, zumba classes at Timber Lodge, poetry reading in Tumbling Bay and beautiful and peaceful parklands Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park really does has something for everyone. It is fantastic that so many people have visited the Park in its first month of opening and seen for themselves what it has to offer. With Paralympians like Aled Davies, disability art, street theatre and top sporting action coming up this looks set to continue over the coming months. We are on track to deliver an amazing destination and these activities are just a taster of what’s to come when the Park opens fully in the spring.”

Tony Wallace, Head of Olympic Venues at GLL, said:

“The launch of the Copper Box Arena has exceeded our expectations in every way. To be able to host international sporting events in our opening few weeks has been phenomenal and our calendar is now filling up. But the Copper Box Arena is also a community leisure centre and it has been equally rewarding to see the enjoyment that local people of all ages have had when using our gym, exercise classes and sports courts. The feedback we have received has been fantastic as more and more Londoners see for themselves the top class facilities that are available to them.”

Denise Largin, Chief Executive of the Camden Society which runs Unity Kitchen cafe at Timber Lodge, said:

“Two exciting young bands, The AutistiX from North London and Motxila 21 from Pamplona in Spain’s Basque Country, will be helping us see out the summer at 7.30pm on 31 August.  Come along and get a drink and a hot dog for your £5 entry.   We also have weekly yoga and zumba classes, among a range of community events lined up for the autumn.  Pay us a visit. You can also pick up some fabulous food for all ages, including healthy breakfasts, chilled sandwiches and salads, hot lunches and sweet treats, as well as snacks and drinks.”

Forthcoming events

Next week sees street theatre on the Park on 28 and 29 August featuring radio controlled flower pots, towering lobsters, interactive puppets and two giant love struck slinkies. This will be followed on 7 September by National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor’s Liberty Festival taking place in the Park and Copper Box. This will be a celebration of the anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games showcasing the best of disability sports and arts. People can try out Paralympic sports, meet ParalympicsGB stars including Aled Davies and Sophie Christiansen and enjoy an exciting afternoon of Deaf and disability arts.

The sporting action continues at the Copper Box Arena when Billy Joe Saunders takes on the undefeated Middleweight challenger John Ryder in a title bout on 21 September, the London Lions kick off their 2013/14 season against Manchester Giants on 27 September and the best talent in world badminton battle it out to take the title at the first Badminton London Grand Prix between 1 and 6 October.

As well as community events and weekly yoga and zumba classes at Timber Lodge a number of local community and sports groups are already using the facilities at the Copper Box Arena including Leyton Netball and Queen Mary University sports clubs. Local schools will start using the facilities at the beginning of the September school term.  The Copper Box will also soon take referrals from Healthwise, the GP referral scheme for physical activity programmes.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be a fantastic new destination and a lasting legacy for east London. The Park will open in spring next year when visitors will be able to fully enjoy this amazing Park and its world class facilities. But while building and landscaping work across the Park is completed some access has to be restricted. So anyone planning to visit the Park should check www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk before travelling to find out what is open and the best way to get there.