Once in a lifetime opportunity already benefiting local businesses:
Sporting legacy from London 2012 taking shape
The Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan visited Cardiff today to meet those already benefiting from London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
Mrs Gillan met Chris Mainwaring, the director of the family-owned and run business Mainline Coaches at the Millennium Stadium. Mainline Coaches, a South Wales based coach company, has been appointed to provide transport solutions during the Games. Based in Evanstown near Gilfach Goch, they will provide a fleet of coaches to transport football teams, officials and media during the Olympic football tournament in Cardiff, as the Millennium Stadium will host 11 games in both the Women’s and Men’s tournaments in August.
While in Cardiff, Mrs Gillan also saw how the 2012 London Games is inspiring the younger generation in Wales where she met Emma Davies, a 13-year-old pupil from Stanwell School in Penarth, who won the regional final of the London 2012 Organising Committee’s (LOCOG) ’Get Set to Make Your Mascot’ education programme.
The competition challenged young people to submit their regional representations of one of the London 2012 mascots. Her dragon and daffodil inspired design was selected from thousands of submissions in the national competition.
Emma presented her ‘Welsh Wenlock’ pin to Mrs Gillan in front of the London 2012 display at the John Lewis store, which is the Official Department Store Provider to London 2012.
Mrs Gillan also met with 16-year-old Cardiff gymnast and Olympic hopeful, Lizzie Beddoe. Lizzie has been leading the field in the four gymnastic disciplines of vault, bars, beam and floor since she was just nine, when she was chosen to be part of the Great Britain squad. She is one of Wales’ only gymnasts to have competed for Great Britain at all age levels.
Mrs Gillan said:
“It was a great pleasure to see how the business community, the youth culture and our athletes in Wales are already benefitting from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The Olympics this year is very much about showcasing what the whole of the UK has to offer, and I am delighted that Wales is taking advantage of the opportunity it has to promote its wares on the world stage.
“I am particularly keen to ensure that Wales-based businesses like Mainline Coaches and John Lewis have the time to shine during the summer. Indeed, more than 10 Welsh businesses are already involved in the construction of the Olympic Park in London.
“Moreover, the fact that Wales is hosting and providing a range of facilities for around 700 athletes, coaches and support staff from across the globe will thrust the country into the international spotlight, and I want to work with our business and tourism sectors to ensure we take full advantage of the opportunities this will no doubt bring.”
This morning, Mrs Gillan attended a Cabinet meeting on the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, chaired by the Prime Minister David Cameron. The meeting focused on how every part of the UK can take full advantage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the unique chance that that the country has to sell itself to a massive international audience.
This afternoon, Cabinet Ministers visited towns and cities across the United Kingdom to see for themselves how businesses, sports facilities, schools and organisations are benefiting from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With little over seven months before the opening ceremony, the construction phase is 95% complete and the project continues to be on time and on budget. Since work began on the East London site in 2008, £6.39billion worth of contracts have been awarded to over 1500 business in the UK, with £417,415 worth going to businesses in Wales.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“As we kick off 2012, the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect time for the Cabinet to come together and ensure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the most of this unique opportunity to showcase all the great things the UK has to offer to the rest of the world.
“As Ministers visit Olympic venues, businesses, schools and organisations associated with 2012 right across the UK, I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximise the benefits of 2012 for the whole country.
“Today, as we mark 200 days to go, and 6 out of the 8 Olympic venues having already secured their future, we are well on track to delivering a lasting legacy for the whole of Britain.”
Boosting tourism numbers
Hosting the Games this summer will put the United Kingdom in the international spotlight and the Government is committed to ensuring that the tourism sector maximises the benefits, boosting investment, jobs and growth. Domestic tourism will benefit from a 20.12 per cent discount initiative recently announced by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and during a trip to New York last September the Prime Minister launched the GREAT campaign which will focus on promoting globally everything the UK has to offer. The campaign will showcase the opportunities to invest in the UK and help to attract millions of extra visitors.
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt said;
“London 2012 gives us an opportunity to showcase the best of Britain to the world and what this country has to offer. From our beautiful countryside to historic sites, sporting venues to our amazing cultural offer Britain really does have something for everyone. I am confident that we will put on a sporting spectacular this summer with some magical, medal moments that we will never forget and that will inspire many young people to get involved in sport.”
Sports in the UK will also receive a boost as part of the Olympic legacy with many of the world-class venues being opened up to local communities and initiatives to support sport in schools, communities and elite athletes continuing after the Games.