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Olympic Games 2012: St. Albans

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what steps the Government plan to take to encourage children and young people in St. Albans to participate in events that are part of the London 2012 Olympics. (222029)

The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are working hard to ensure that the benefits of 2012 reach across the UK and have established a Nations and Regions Group (NRG) to oversee this work.

The East of England representative is Cllr Stephen Castle, who chairs the Nations and Regions East (NRE) Board. In Hertfordshire, the Ready for Winners Partnership Board (HRFWP), led by Hertfordshire county council has been set up to maximise the benefits from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As part of their legacy ambitions, they have particularly committed to encouraging children and young people to participate in 2012 related events.

Schools in Hertfordshire have already started using material from LOCOG's UK-wide London 2012 education programme, ‘Get Set', which launches on Thursday 18 September and have registered to be part of LOCOG's Paralympic Handover celebrations on Wednesday 17 September. Additionally, the “Sports in the Park” programme in St. Albans will form part of the region's plans for cultural events taking place over the Handover weekend in August. This will offer up to 2,000 children aged two to 12 the opportunity to be active and have fun over a period of six weeks this summer. Across the St. Albans district, children will design a handover flag that represents their community and what the Games means to them to take to the official 2012 flag raising ceremony on 24 August. Young people from St. Albans and the county will also have the opportunity to be amongst the 70,000 volunteers needed to help run the Games in London.

Local sports facilities for all age groups are also being improved across the county as part of the “Active Hertfordshire strategy”, with new facilities being built in Watford and St Albans. HRFWP is also developing a talented young athlete scheme and has so far channelled £12,000 to support 23 young athletes up to 2012 identified by their governing bodies as having sporting talent and high potential. Each athlete will receive nutritional advice, physiotherapy assessments, individual and group training sessions, performance lifestyle advice and free membership to Hertfordshire Sports village and some other facilities in the county.