Hampshire reaps rewards from Olympic Legacy
Tuesday, 04 December 2012
The county of Hampshire is almost £50million better-off thanks to the Olympics, according to a Hampshire County Council report on the legacy of the 2012 Games.
Members of the Council's Culture, Communities and Rural Affairs Select Committee have heard how London 2012 has resulted in huge benefits for the county. Figures from LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority show that 183 Olympic business contracts with Hampshire firms have generated around £36million. Meanwhile with the Olympic Torch having spent more time in Hampshire than any other county, and supported by around 450,000 residents lining Hampshire's streets, the torch relays boosted Hampshire's local economy by around £10million (including Southampton and Portsmouth).
Dozens of Olympic events were held throughout Hampshire; among them was Winchester Live which saw a total of 8,000 people watch the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Games on big screens erected in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. The event also reported crowds of up to 2,000 people at some of Team GB's key medal-winning highlights.
Around 10% of the total Team GB medal haul in both the Olympics and Paralympic Games came from the 44 athletes with links to Hampshire, whether they were raised in the county, or trained locally. Their haul of four Gold, three Silver and ten Bronze medals in both Games makes Hampshire the second most successful Olympic county, after Yorkshire. Of these 44 athletes, eight had received support from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme (HTAS), a Hampshire County Council scheme aimed at supporting talented athletes as their careers develop.
In addition to the financial boost to the county and the Olympic feel-good factor which spread across Hampshire's communities, crime levels in Hampshire also dropped by 15% during the Games. A 10% drop in crime was seen during the Paralympic Games.
Engagement by Hampshire's children and young people during the Games was also cause for celebration; 491 Hampshire schools took part in the Get Set Network - an education programme to celebrate the London 2012 Games in schools. Hampshire teachers took part in a national survey where 91% said that using the values of the Olympics and Paralympics had a positive effect on pupils' motivation, while 75% reported that the Games had a positive effect on improving the school atmosphere, morale and attainment of youngsters.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, said: "The Olympics may be behind us, but they have left a fantastic legacy not only in Hampshire, but throughout the country as a whole. The achievements of Team GB Olympic and Paralympic athletes have inspired the nation, as well as helping to change public perceptions around disability, and wider health and wellbeing issues.
"The benefits from the Games certainly are not over, and as 2012 comes to a close, we are already looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, and the real challenge of keeping up this positive momentum, and continuing to inspire residents of all ages through sport and sporting activity."