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Culture Secretary's Olympic tour comes to host football venue Old Trafford

Businesses urged to make most of 2012: Jeremy Hunt updates on new Youth Sport Strategy and £10 million funding from Sainsbury's for the School Games.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Business and sport in the North West were top of the agenda today as the Culture Secretary held back-to-back `2012 summits’ at Manchester United Football Club, a host venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Joined by footballing legend and World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton and Paralympian Sarah Storey OBE, Mr. Hunt urged businesses in the region to make the very most of the opportunity of the country hosting the Olympics and Paralympics, and schools heard about the exciting new Sainsbury’s School Games competition.

Addressing more than 100 hoteliers, businesses and tourism bodies from across the region, the Secretary of State revealed that the region would feature in major international and national marketing campaigns to promote UK tourism in 2012, and urged local tourism firms to sign up to a new 20.12 per cent discount scheme. 

The event, which was hosted by Andrew Stokes, Chief Executive of Marketing Manchester, showcased the business, tourism, cultural and sporting opportunities that the Games bring. 

Other speakers included James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, Andy Worthington, Chair of the North West Steering Group for the 2012 Games and Ruth Mackenzie, Cultural Olympiad Director. 

Mr Hunt said:

“It was absolutely fantastic to be at Old Trafford today. The 2012 Games offer huge opportunities to businesses in the North West, and I urge everyone to get on board with making the most of them.”

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford, said:

“I’m delighted to be here in Manchester at such an iconic stadium with the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt.  This exciting tourism roadshow launches England’s most high profile campaign to boost domestic tourism and is designed to highlight the fantastic experiences Britons can enjoy literally on their doorsteps. 

“2012 offers the tourism industry a number of unprecedented opportunities.  Not only will England be showcased to billions of people all over the world, but we have the opportunity to grow domestic tourism by inspiring Britons to rediscover England and take a holiday at home next year. Spear-heading the promotion will be a high profile TV campaign and specially devised discounted offers. Our job as the national tourist board is to work with the industry to harness the pride we know is felt by local residents and to inspire them to act as ambassadors for their destinations for next year and beyond.”

At the School Games summit, Mr Hunt urged local schools to sign up for the new Sainsbury’s School Games competition. The new scheme, which will have its first final in the Olympic Park in May, is helping to transform sport in schools.

The competition received a huge boost earlier this week with Sainsbury’s pledging a £10 million funding package over the next four years, the Department of Health investing a further £14 million, and adidas signing up as official kit supplier.

The School Games competition is part of the Government’s new youth sport strategy, unveiled this week.  Together, they will get more young people playing sport and deliver a real sporting legacy from the 2012 Games.

With 115 days to go until the opening ceremony of the inaugural Sainsbury’s School Games final in the Olympic Park, the Culture Secretary urged local head teachers, students and school games organisers to sign up to the competition.  He used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of making the most of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games to help transform school sport and get more young people playing sport. 

Mr Hunt also took part in a pitch side photo with Sir Bobby, Sarah Storey, and youngsters from Stretford High School.

Sarah Storey said:

“I have really enjoyed meeting the young people from Stretford High School today. It’s great to see them so enthusiastic about their sport. Many of them have the potential to become strong leaders and top performers; the Sainsbury’s School Games will give them and the other youngsters across Manchester, the opportunity to go on to be the best they can be.”

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Notes to editors

  1. Further information about tourism in Manchester contact

  2. For further information about Visit England contact Sarah Long on 0207 578 1452 /

  3. For more information about Sarah Storey and Paralympic Cycling

  4. More information about London 2012.

  5. The GREAT initiative is an international campaign to maximise the tourism and business opportunities of the UK hosting the 2012 Games.

  6. Mr Hunt is making a series of visits around the country to promote the opportunity of 2012. So far he has visited:

* Cumbria (9 November) 
* East Midlands (16 November) 
* South West (18 November) 
* West Midlands (23 November) 
* South East (2 December) 
* North west (12 January)  

Future dates are (provisionally):

* Yorkshire and Humber (18 January) 
* East of England (20 January) 
* North East (26 January) 
* London (2 February) 
* Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland TBC  
  1. The Sainsbury’s School Games is a new school sport competition, using the inspiration of London’s Olympics and Paralympics to help transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport.  Open to all schools, there are three levels of competition (class versus class, school versus school and then county or city wide sports festivals) leading up to the showcase final on the Olympic Park. The School Games will continue after 2012 and the ambition is for the finals to be held in the Olympic Park at regular intervals. Schools have until the end of January to sign up.  Further information about the school games.

  2. Sainsbury’s pledged a £10 million package to support the new School Games over the next four years; this was announced b DCMS on 10 January 2012.

  3. A new £1 billion new youth sport strategy to deliver on 2012 Games promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport was announced by DCMS on 10 January 2012.

  4. As part of the Cultural Olympiad, the Manchester City Galleries and Whitworth Art Gallery announced today that are collaborating for the first time on a major exhibition of contemporary art drawn from countries in West Africa called We Face Forward: Art From West Africa Today. The exhibition will be from 1 June to 16 September 2012.  Curated by a team led by Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries and taking place across Whitworth Art Gallery and Park, Manchester Art Gallery and Platt Hall (Gallery of Costume), the exhibition will feature painting, drawing, photography, textiles, sculpture, video and sound work - from a wide range of practitioners whose work is internationally acclaimed, but rarely seen in the UK.

  5. North West ‘2012’ factsheet.

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Published 2 April 2012