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Town leader takes on Olympic legacy role
3:00pm Friday 11th January 2013 in News
THE legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games now rests in part in the hands of a Warrington man.
Former Warrington Borough Council leader John Gartside has been chosen as a trustee of the Big Lottery Fund’s Spirit of 2012 Trust.
He joins the likes of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Baroness Sue Campbell on the panel which will look to fund projects which will continue to inspire generations to come after the success last year’s games.
John said: “There has been a lot of talk about the legacy but not a lot of action.
“I had heard that the lottery were going to put £40million into the legacy and when the Olympic Village is sold more will go in. Private sector funding will come in hopefully too and it could end up being a large fund.
“A whole series of meetings have been set up and we are already looking at three or four kinds of projects. We want to get going straight away.
“I would be surprised if we were not funding things in two months.”
The fund will be targeting a wide variety of projects and not just those from sporting fields.
The cultural impact of the games will also be harnessed through the funding along with a focus on volunteering on the back of the success of the Gamesmakers at the olympics and Paralympics.
“The idea is, with Government support, to develop the Olympic legacy,” he added.
“We are being brought in to represent the different areas such as charity and sport.
“I will have a focus in ensuring that there is a regional aspect to this fund and it isn’t focussed in London.”
And Warrington itself could prove an inspiration for the rest of the country through its own Olympic legacy - Orford Park.
John said: “I think Orford Park is a beacon. You only have to look at the footprint of it to see the size and the car park is full. It has been more successful than expected.
“Orford Park is precisely the model that could be followed, not necessarily a new building but revitalised buildings.”
To find out more about the trust visit biglotteryfund.org.uk