ALTHOUGH London won the Olympic bid for 2012, the ripple effect will be felt throughout the country. Government Offices around the country are heavily involved in ensuring that each region gets the most out of this once-in-a- lifetime occasion.
Each of the nine Government Offices, including here in the North East, now has someone who not only takes responsibility for specific regional issues, but also has a national responsibility for one aspect of planning for 2012. This includes preparing for emergencies, ensuring the legacy, and getting people into work - they work closely across the nations and regions to ensure UK-wide benefits.
In the North East of England there is a long Olympic tradition with athletes such as Steve Cram, Jonathan Edwards, swimmer Chris Cook, not to mention Dame Tanni Grey Thompson who has made this region her home.
There is a great enthusiasm building in the region for the Olympics and we want to make sure this continues. It is the role of our 'Olympic team' in Government Office to ensure that key partners like RDA, Sport England and local authorities are working together to jointly address the challenges of the Games.
Part of the football competition will be played at St James Park in Newcastle, but there are also 20 potential training venues which have been identified throughout the region ranging from Gateshead International Athletics Stadium to Tees Barrage canoe course and Sunderland Aquatic Centre. Paralympians could also benefit from sailing facilities at Hartlepool Marina and Percy Hedley Sports Academy in Newcastle.
North East businesses are also benefiting from Olympic opportunities -it's estimated that in excess of 30 regional companies have already won contracts to supply the London 2012 Games.
Young people in the region are also being encouraged to see the relevance of the London Olympics. School students have been swapping their text books for gold medals as part of ‘Get Set’, a series of interactive workshops linked to creative thinking, business planning, sales and marketing, finance and target setting designed to test their enterprise skills while learning about Olympic and Paralympic Values.
The North East road shows were driven by Government Office for the North East and the regional development agency.
Jonathan Blackie, regional director, Government Office for the North East