Lords debates role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering an Olympic legacy

25 January 2013

Members of the Lords debated the role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering an Olympic legacy yesterday (Thursday 24 January).

Lord Mawson (Crossbench) opened the debate and said: 'There is no doubt that the Games accelerated public and private sector investment in east London and inspired a generation of young people and adults.'

He argued: '...the key task now is to build sustainable communities which are defined not by ticking boxes but by diversity - by thriving communities who see that they have a life there for themselves and their children, and who will invest wholeheartedly in the place. It is about the detail of how you do this in practice.'

Lord King of Bridgwater (Conservative) declared an interest as he was involved in creating and establishing the ExCel convention and exhibition centre in east London. He said: 'I am very proud that ExCeL has established itself as a successful and valuable addition to the economy of London.'

He stated: 'ExCeL is now in the business of trying to attract major international conventions. London, with all its amazing attractions and facilities, was ranked 20th in the world in market share of big international conventions. I am proud to say that, given the number of bookings taken at ExCeL, we have already moved up to seventh in the world ranking. Given the quality of the other facilities that London offers, I cannot believe that it will not end up in the top four, with all the benefit that that would bring.'

Baroness Andrews (Labour), chair of English Heritage, said: 'The Cultural Olympiad broke down some of the barriers between culture, the arts, heritage and technologies. It encouraged risk, shoved out the boundaries and engaged on an innovative scale. It showed that there are innovative ways of bringing arts and heritage together in the physical framework, such as, for example, setting fire to Stonehenge.'

She said: 'That collection of 850 monuments all over Britain, cared for by the leading cultural institutions - English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland - tell the story of the nation.' She explained that 2013 will celebrate the monuments which showcase the nation's history and encourage communities to protect them: 'One of my hopes is that there will be increasing commitment in local communities to looking after their local heritage.'

Other topics covered included building on the Cultural Olympiad and continuing to engage communities in cultural actvities, including creative subjects and foreign languages in the curriculum, the torch relay inspiring people to join local groups and the growth of community activities, the future use of the Olympic stadium, and continued east London development and regeneration.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government saying: 'London 2012 made people proud to be British and to be part of their local community. We want to ensure that people continue to have opportunities to come together.'

He also highlighted the importance of 'capturing the success of creative companies in delivering the Games and translating this into new business at home and abroad' and concluded: 'The Games have taught us once again that we can, as has been said, deliver great things of national importance and beyond when we, the British people, come together.'

Other speakers included:

Further  information

Image: iStockphoto

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