Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales claims the borough will continue to benefit from 2012 Olympics
PUBLISHED: 09:24 17 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 17 August 2016
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The 2016 Olympic Games are under way in Rio and Team GB are on track to equal their success at London 2012.
It really doesn’t seem like four years since Newham was proud hosts of the 2012 Games. Since then we have done much to ensure residents continue to benefit from an Olympic legacy – but it’s no thanks to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC may organise the Games, facing unique challenges in every host city but in my experience they don’t care about legacy. When the Games in London finished, off they went. There has been no coming back to see what can be done.
It was only because Newham and the other host boroughs fought hard to secure a real, meaningful legacy that anything was achieved. For us, hosting the Olympics had to be about something wider – the development opportunities had to be a catalyst for improvement.
This determination to use the games to transform some of our poorest former industrial area has seen us succeed where previous games have failed. It had to be about more than shiny buildings, it also had to make a difference.
The Games brought thousands of jobs to the area and we secured these for our residents through Workplace, our employment service. It was set up in 2007 to ensure people benefited from the games and other regeneration projects. Now 30,000 jobs have been filled with Newham residents.
We’ve helped to attract the investment, and we’ve invested ourselves – including buying a stake in the London Stadium to ensure it remains a community asset. Our approach is working.
Newham has seen one of the biggest falls in deprivation, dropping from the second most deprived council in the country to the 25th. Our employment rate has also seen the greatest increase across the whole of London.
It is imperative we keep pushing further. Newham and east London should be the focus of the capital’s development over the next 20 years. It is something those who organised the Rio Games would do well to remember. More from Sir Robin
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