People across Stoke-on-Trent can from today (3) take part in an initiative to help show how they can lead the celebrations in their community ahead of the summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games launched the Local Leaders initiative to help individuals within communities play an active role in bringing their friends, family and community members together to celebrate the Games.
People can sign up to be a Local Leader at www.london2012.com/localleaders and can play an active part now in preparing their community for international attention when the Torch arrives in the UK.
Olympic themed gardening project, Garden for the Games, provides Local Leaders with hints and tips from experts including Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins and Olympic Park gardener Des Smith on how to plant seeds now that will turn window boxes red, white and blue, or grow gold by planting marigolds to flourish the route of the Olympic Torch route.
One Local Leader in Stoke-on-Trent, Joe Andrew, 63, Professor of Literature and Culture at Keele University, has helped to organise a series of events through the Hartshill and Harpfields Residents association, including a challenge to all local gardeners, especially at two local allotments, to plant Olympic colour-themed veg and flowers.
Joe said: “There's a lot of anticipation for the 2012 Games; and that excitement will only grow. It's already fostering a sense of community, whatever age you are. The Games are about so much more than sport.”
Once the Olympic Flame arrives in the UK on Friday May 18, 2012, Local Leaders are provided with ideas and tools to help bring the community together to welcome the Flame and celebrate their local heroes by lining the streets and showing what makes their community special for the 70 day UK wide relay.
In Stoke-on-Trent the Flame will pass through five areas of the city over two days (May 30 and May 31) and also include an evening celebration event in Hanley Park.
Councillor Mark Meredith, cabinet member for economic development, said: “Stoke-on-Trent has some real inspirational people in its make-up and this is the time for those people to shine and show how special their communities are. When people talk about this city they always say how personable the people are and what a strong sense of community spirit exists here.
“We now want other people, like Joe, to come forward and make sure this exceptionally exciting event leaves long and lasting memories in the minds of all those involved.
“We have so many talented people, not just in terms of sport, living in the city and we must make the most of this
unique opportunity we have to show the whole world just what living in Stoke-on-Trent is about.”
During the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, over a billion people around the world will be watching, and Local Leaders will be given invite cards, recipe tips, party sheets and more to help them turn their screening of the event into an Olympic themed venue.
Further ideas will be released for August 4 when most of the medals are awarded during the Olympic Games. Local Leaders
will access recipe ideas to help host barbeques and a day of activity in their homes, gardens and community centres.
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, said: “Local Leaders are brilliant organisers in every community around the country and play an active role in celebrating national events at a local level. Through this programme Local Leaders will help provide opportunities for everyone around the UK to join in with the London 2012 Games.”
David Moorcroft, Chair of West Midlands for 2012, said: “Local Leaders is a terrific initiative by London 2012 – and I’m already amazed at the enthusiasm and scale of ambition shown by people across the West Midlands who have picked up the Local Leaders baton so far.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to be a part of London 2012 and have their own Olympic moment here in the region and we look forward to hearing people’s stories through www.thegamesandme.com.”
For the Paralympic Torch Relay, Local Leaders can help celebrate the national flames lighting in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by lighting up every corner of the UK with a lantern. Local Leaders will be able to access hints and tips on how to take part in a lantern procession and decorate lanterns with good luck messages for their local Paralympic athlete.
Finally, for the last day of the Paralympic Games on September 9 Local Leaders will be provided with ideas to bring together
friends, family and neighbours for a Sunday get-together to see out an unforgettable summer in style.
By signing up at www.london2012.com/localleaders Local Leaders will get access to London 2012 branding, posters and toolkits. London 2012 will provide Local Leaders with the tools to make their celebration one to remember and create opportunities for people across the UK to join in. Local Leaders will also be able to put their celebration events on the London 2012 Join In listings website, giving local community celebrations international exposure.
For details about Garden for the Games visit www.london2012.com/get-involved/local-leaders/garden-for-the-games.
LOCOG has worked with community groups across the UK, including the Scouts, Girl Guides, NHS, YMCA, Rotary International,
Garden Organic, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland, Sport Northern Ireland, SAGA, Mumsnet, Women’s Institute
and English Heritage, to inform people about the Local Leaders initiative. Already over 7,000 Local Leaders have signed up.
Now Games organisers are putting the call out to the whole nation to encourage individuals who are keen to play an active role in their friendship group, street or community in celebrating the Games this summer to sign up at www.london2012.com/localleaders.
For all media enquiries contact Steven Kennedy in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.