We are fully committed to ensuring that everyone in the UK can be part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We aim to do this through cultural events across the country, more opportunities to take part in sport and to be physically active, and a range of volunteering, jobs and skills initiatives as well as business opportunities. The Legacy Action Plan which I published in June sets out more details on how we propose to deliver this vision.
I am also keen for regions to identify what is important to them. At a regional level this work is being taken forward by the Nations and Regions Group (NRG) who are working hard to optimise local benefits of the Games. The north-east representative is Peter Rowley, chair of the Regional Sports Board. The north-east launched its regional plan to maximise the benefits of the Games on 18 July 2007. This can be found on the North East Regional Development Agency website:
Progress on legacy in the north-east is already being made. Of the 23 eligible local authorities in the north-east, 16 have agreed to offer free swimming to those aged 16 or under and seven have agreed to offer free swimming to those aged 60 or over only. 19 Olympic and eight Paralympic facilities from the north-east are included in the official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide; 40 events took place in the region during the Cultural Olympiad ‘Open Weekend’ and 22 special ‘handover flags’ were raised. Additionally, 97 schools and colleges in the north-east hosted Paralympic Games-focused activities for children and young people as part of Paralympic handover celebrations.
Furthermore, St. James' Park, Newcastle (home of Newcastle United) will experience first hand the excitement of Games activity by hosting rounds of the football competition during 2012.