“Olympic sized effort, Olympic sized change?”

It was inevitable that I’d make an Olympics themed blog after our magnificent opening ceremony. Living in London I’ve witnessed the politics, news headlines, procrastination, moaning and then later nostalgia, pride and euphoria associated with the world’s greatest event. One of the single most important issues associated with London 2012 is the issue of sustainability and long term change through investment in East London. From the aquatics centre to the Olympic stadium they have all been earmarked for long term use.

But here’s the thing.

Can investment alone lead to sustainable long term change?

A news segment on the BBC interviewing Stratford locals was rather poignant as a rather annoyed market seller exclaimed,

“How many of us will be at the Opening Ceremony? Not many I’ll tell you that!”

Personally, I believe the investment will be worthwhile, but what’s been created is an unprecedented set of resources for East London. However, the key to the legacy they create will only be achieved through effective management. London 2012 must align its objectives with the slew of private investors who will wish to take over the facilities in due course. Moreover, a sustained trickle of investment in local, grass-roots clubs and societies must occur and an open dialogue maintained with local leaders.

It’s good to talk and we don’t do it enough. Future investors must understand the purpose of our Olympics and the same way that Millenium Dome became the O2 Centre, a fantastic entertainment centre so to must our our Olympic facilities became centres of sporting inspiration, achievement, local pride and most importantly accessible resources.

So will London 2012 leave a long term legacy in our local communities?

Well, if the organisers remember why they wanted the Olympics and make sure they’re talking to our communities then maybe, just maybe we’ll feel the ripple of 2012 for decades to come.

Dr Saif F Abed
Founding Partner
AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd
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