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Spend spare cash on Olympic legacy
SCHOOLS and sports clubs could get £1 million pounds of new equipment to create an “Olympic legacy” in Worcestershire.
The county council’s Labour group has suggested the it splashes the cash to continue the soaring interest in sport following this summer’s extravaganza.
Councillor Richard Udall , the party’s deputy leader, says the money could be spent on equipment in deprived parts of the county.
County Hall has about £14.4 million of unallocated reserves stashed away in the bank – money left for a rainy day. Coun Udall’s suggestion will be looked at by the controlling Conservative group once the Paralympics has ended. He said: “The legacy of the Olympics must be to inspire the next generation.
“We need to invest in sport, especially for those who have little opportunity to enjoy quality facilities.
“Worcestershire could lead the way with a long-term investment in our children.
“Such a fund could be used to train, encourage and inspire the athletes and the Olympians of the future.
“This is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to harness the goodwill of both the Olympics and Paralympics to provide a real chance for those who are normally left behind.” In a letter to Council leader Councillor Adrian Hardman, he said the £1 million could be ring-fenced so it lasts for many years into the future.
Under the suggestion, every year thousands of pounds would be taken out of it to pay for top-of-the-range items such as cricket equipment, football goals, weights or basketball nets.
Coun Udall said he was concerned pupils at state schools were missing out compared with their counterparts at fee-paying schools.
Bosses have agreed to explore the idea to see if it can work. Coun Hardman said: “The county council has, together with the Hereford and Worcester chamber of commerce, hosted an Olympic co-ordinator whose role it is to ensure the Olympic and Paralympic games have a lasting legacy.
“This work, which concludes at the end of December 2012, will involve not only the council but partner organisations across the region. It is not appropriate to comment on the legacy of games until the close of the Paralympics on September 9.
“It would also be prudent to wait until this work has taken place, to gauge need before pledging any financial support, to ensure the success of any investment.”