Local heroes were among the first to see the brand new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Thursday.
The event, ‘A Day In The Park’ was created to celebrate “community champions” and “local heroes” as thirty coaches, youth workers and volunteers spent time with Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Over a period of three months the London Olympic Legacy Corporation have been inviting community groups and whole streets to enter a competition to win 10,000 Paralympic tickets. Winners were invited to wander the grounds before 15 streets and 94 community groups were awarded tickets.
As redevelopment work begins on the site in October, promoters wanted local families and groups to see the park as it is now and hear what changes would be seen in 18 months time.
Meet some of the people chosen from Hackney’s citizens as “inspiring figures”:
Originally from Nigeria, mother-of-two Caroline has been blind all her life. But for the last 20 years she has worked on behalf of disabled people in Hackney. She is no director of Choice, which provides employment and training opportunities for disabled people as well as volunteers and advocates to assist them.
Selda is an ambassador for the Freedom Charity who speaks up on behalf of local women who have been forced into arranged marriages. She has been a student and is now employed at Skinners’ Academy in Haringey.
Connie is a guide leader who heads up the ‘Angel Voices’ choir at St Michael and All Angels Church Hall in London Fields. The choir is for toddlers and their carers, exposing kids to music before they go to school and giving them an opportunity to gain confidence. Connie’s commitment and enthusiasm has ensured the choir’s survival.
A double period of LOCOG Studies and a GCSE in Sports Commentary? Not quite, but as a governor of local school Orchard, Lenny has continually promoted the inclusion of the Olympics in the curriculum. He has also run community workshops for Hackney Quest to help support families and parents in difficult circumstances.
Sebastien developed the Citysafe project, which gets businesses to volunteer their premises as Safe Havens – providing a place of refuge for students and those in fear of street violence – and to report 100% of crime. A teacher at Our Lady’s Convent High School, he trains his students to build peaceful relationships with the community and negotiated for more buses at the end of the school day. He also works tirelessly for local employment, pushing for 500 Hackney residents to get jobs at the 2012 games and helping hundreds of young people to obtain work.