Hackney gets set for the 2012 Games

Thousands of Hackney residents have grabbed the chance to find out how they can get involved now and benefit from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Around three thousand local people flocked to the Get Set Hackney event where they could sign up for new local jobs and volunteering roles, find out more about the London 2012 Games project, and visit the London 2012 Roadshow which is touring the Capital.

Special guests Olympic athlete Jonathan Edwards, Hackney’s Paralympic swimmer Dervis Konuralp and Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe joined them at the day-long event on Thursday (13 March).

Hackney Council’s annual training and employment fair ‘Opportunities Now’ provided advice and opportunities to register for jobs and training courses, with 37 stalls inside Ocean on Mare Street.

Updates from the Olympic Delivery Authority were held throughout the day and Council officers were on hand to answer questions about the 2012 Games coming to Hackney.

The London 2012 ‘Get Set London’ Roadshow included interactive sports equipment and information on jobs, skills development and business in Hackney.

Choice FM DJ Kat B encouraged visitors to enjoy sports and cultural activities in the Town Hall Square, including a display from the Hackney Sparrows basketball team, taekwondo, Mimbre, African dance and drumming and a jazz band.

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m very pleased so many residents came along to find out more about how they can get involved with the 2012 Games. The sports demonstrations, music and acrobatics displays were great fun. But there was also a more serious point to the day, letting people know that there are jobs, training and volunteering opportunities available to them now.”

Swimmer Dervis Konuralp is Hackney’s first Olympic and Paralympic ambassador. He grew up in Hackney and is training in the borough’s pools for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

Dervis, 27, said: “Sport has given me so many opportunities and has made me the person I am today. Hosting the 2012 Games offers a great opportunity to inspire more young people in our borough to take part in physical activity and show them that you can join in whatever your ability. It doesn’t matter whether they win medals – it’s all about getting involved and active.”

London 2012, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency created the London 2012 Roadshow ‘Get Set London’ to give Londoners a unique opportunity to find out how the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will increase jobs and skills opportunities and benefit culture, sport, business and regeneration in the Capital and in Hackney.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: “We want London 2012 to be ‘Everyone’s Games’, with a wide range of opportunities for Londoners to get involved, not just in the summer of 2012, but starting now. Many of these opportunities already exist, and more will follow - and we are bringing the Get Set London Roadshow to every London borough to make sure residents are aware of the many ways they can join in and be part of 2012.”

Manny Lewis, Chief Executive of the London Development Agency, said: “The Roadshow is a fantastic tool to highlight how the LDA is delivering a legacy now through the Games. We want to engage as many people as possible with the training programmes and job opportunities. Our goal is to get 70,000 people across London into work by 2012. The borough visits will also reach out to local business communities.”