July 2022: Marking 10 years since the London Paralympic and Olympic games

Written by Ian Parkes, ELBA CEO

This year is the tenth anniversary of London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s not universal, but it is hard to find anyone in ELBA’s area of operation that doesn’t think it was a great success for east London – and for the UK in general. There have already been a whole raft of reflection pieces and documentaries on TV, radio and social media. Whether you loved it or hated it, 2012 and the Games were certainly memorable for everyone.

Here at ELBA, when we talk about things we have done and timelines, everything is always BG or AG – Before the Games or After the Games. ELBA was thoroughly involved in every way – from supporting the push for volunteers to be such a major part of the operation; to managing a widespread grants programme; to supporting a range of employment opportunities arising from the World’s largest peacetime event coming to our neighbourhood. Some ELBA staff were involved as volunteers for the Opening Ceremony and some worked in the Olympics organisations.

In this month’s newsletter we hear from some of those who were involved – and I reflect that the spirit of community engagement and volunteering that we saw so vividly in 2012 is still present in east London – for sure in ELBA’s everyday activities.

I think it is undeniable that the area the Olympic Park occupies is an infinitely better place than it was before, with public amenities, cleaned up environment and new jobs, as well as a great open green space and the new East Bank on its way.

I would also contend that the London Paralympic Games did what no other campaign could have done to enhance the standing of people with disabilities in all aspects of society, not just in sport.

It’s probably also fair to say that the London Games was a peak of national unity – and we are more divided now for a whole range of very complex reasons. We at ELBA are working on the legacy of the Games everyday. As we progress through the rest of the year, we will be hoping to find more of that London 2012 spirt as we tackle the cost of living crisis, climate response and looking after the environment, and making sure every young person gets a full and fail chance to make a good start in life.

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