London 2012: How Suffolk has benefited in the run up to the Olympics
WHILE the long-term Olympics legacy is much talked about, far less is said of what benefits have been delivered so far.
For Suffolk it is a varied landscape that has seen business boosted, sports facilities improved and children inspired in their learning.
Firms have netted up to �12million in Olympics-related contracts - a figure that is expected to rise once the full picture emerges after the Games.
Suffolk sport has been bolstered too, including the establishment of two major events that have become fixtures in the county’s calendar.
On top of the Great East Swim and Tour of East Anglia bike ride, community sport facilities have also been improved. Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund has handed out more than �500,000 in grants to Suffolk clubs to enhance their infrastructure and lift participation.
The Olympics has also inspired pupils, with every Suffolk school signed up to London 2012’s Get Set education programme. It has allowed teachers to tailor lessons around the Games and capture youngsters’ enthusiasm, which was already sky-high in many parts of the county following the Torch relay.
But benefits to tourism are less tangible. While some elements of Suffolk’s industry have enjoyed improved visitor numbers this year there is no indication it’s down to the Olympics.
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Yet there is little doubt about the potential the Games has to lift Suffolk tourism - Visit East Anglia says it could provide a �200m boost.
Seeds of that potential boost have been planted by some of the cultural events held in the county in the run up to the London 2012, according to Adam Baker, London 2012 project manager for Suffolk County Council.
He said the Aldeburgh World Orchestra - which has seen 124 of the most-talented young musicians perform pieces by Britten, Mahler and Stravinsky - had seen film crews from across the globe come to Suffolk.
Mr Baker added: “The Olympics has had a really positive impact, there’s lots of organisations which have done lots of work to ensure that Suffolk benefits from the Games.
“But the legacy starts when the Games finishes - it’s important we continue to ensure there’s a long term legacy.”
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