An Olympic Legacy!

I live in East London and although we had such a fantastic summer last year with the superb Olympics we hosted, I would say for a long time prior to the events we were a little sceptical about how it would actually benefit London, East London in particular, after the event.

‘Legacy’ was a word we heard often but not really much was released as to what it would actually mean. Even on spoof documentary ‘Twenty Twelve’ it was spoken about in a jokey way which suggested nothing much really would ever happen but…

The Olympics which we all worried might be an utter disaster were a resounding success and it seems that the little word ‘legacy’ is actually going to provide East London with one worth having after all! I’ve been hearing of a few projects here and there which sound like our lovely little part of London is getting a slice of something good and positivity after the party is certainly on the cards.

Take a look at this information below about new funding for the game Chess to be taught in schools here in the East of the capital. We may laugh at the thought of people playing Chess, typically in films the nerds are portrayed by playing, but actually it takes a great deal of skill and uses mathematics in a fun and different way. There are lots of families in East London with poor resources and lack of money unfortunately can encourage children to resort to crime. With something like this on offer it might not only dissuade a child’s energy from taking an unsavoury path but it could educate in a way that otherwise they may not be engaged, give them an interesting hobby and find skills they otherwise may never have nurtured.

East Village – the first legacy neighbourhood from the Games – unveils funding for Chess in Schools and Communities initiative in the London Borough of Newham

The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales and British Champion Grandmaster Gawain Jones, welcomed over 300 local schoolchildren to Stratford Library yesterday for a fun, free and educational morning of chess games and classes on a giant chess board. The event was held to celebrate the launch of an Urban Chess funding initiative from London’s newest neighbourhood – East Village, in partnership with the charity Chess in Schools and the Communities (CSC) and Newham Council.

The Urban Chess funding from East Village will bring chess sets and lessons to 14 Newham schools, with the aim of expanding to all 64 primary schools in the borough by 2015, so that every local child can learn how to play the world’s most enduring game. As well as promoting chess in schools, the partnership will develop chess clubs and lessons in libraries, and hopes to set up a chess festival and provide giant chess sets in the borough’s parks, if there is a significant take up of the scheme. The borough’s first chess club will open to the community from Thursday 14th March in Stratford Library.

The celebratory event today was the first of many chess initiatives planned across the city – the first being the World Chess Candidates Tournament, which arrives in London in just two days’ time. This tournament will see eight of the world’s greatest players including world number one Magnus Carlsen compete for a €500,000 prize fund. The game’s popularity is on the rise, following events including the London Grand Prix last October and the London Chess Classic, the capital has firmly re-established itself as the centre of world chess, a status it had in the 19th century.

Spurred by celebrity advocates including Jay Z, Usain Bolt, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jude Law, Lily Cole and even fashion brand Prada, who used chess within their autumn/winter 2012 campaign, the game is now played by over half a billion people worldwide. This growing popularity has been amplified by the game’s proven educational and developmental benefits – encouraging greater one-on-one interaction and the ability to think strategically – hence why East Village and Chess in Schools and Communities are determined to bring the game to younger generations in London and beyond.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “Chess is a great way for our young people to build their confidence, concentration and problem-solving skills. I hope as many children as possible take up the opportunity to play this wonderful game, and seeing the excitement of those involved today, I am positive that they will. This project is a great example of how Newham Council works with other organisations who share a passion in our community, to innovate and provide educational entertainment for the benefit of the borough. Every child in Newham matters and we are determined they should have the same chances as youngsters in wealthier parts of the country.”

CSC’s ‘Newham Chess Project’ began in the London Borough of Newham in June 2010 when England women’s international Sabrina Chevannes began teaching at Ravenscroft Primary School. The innovative approach of teaching the game to an entire class in school time led to her work being featured on Breakfast Television: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13343943

Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of Chess in Schools and Communities added: “The social and academic benefits of teaching chess to young children have been well proven to improve concentration, critical thinking and build self-esteem. We are thrilled that East Village and Newham Council has so generously supported The Newham Chess Project, allowing us to extend our programme for the benefit of many more. This partnership with both the public and private sector is something the charity hopes to replicate nationally.”

As a result, 5 Newham schools and over 500 children have enjoyed the arrival of chess into their classrooms, a programme of weekly chess lessons, and entry into national tournaments – such as the Delancey UK School’s Chess Challenge.

The additional support from East Village will allow CSC and The London Borough of Newham to extend this innovative programme to a further 9 schools, reaching thousands more children across the local area. Participating schools include:

• Brampton Primary School

• Calverton Primary School

• Colegrave Primary School

• Dersingham Primary School

• Keir Hardie Primary School

• Lathom Primary School

• Ravenscroft Primary School

• Selwyn Primary School

• Sheringham Primary School

• St Antony’s Primary School

• St Stephen’s Primary School

• Tollgate Primary School

• Upton Cross Primary School

• William Davies Primary School

Announced by Qatari Diar Delancey and Triathlon Homes, East Village will initially deliver 2,818 new homes (a mixture of private rental and affordable), to create a brand new E20 neighbourhood. East Village will also be home to Chobham Academy – a world-class education campus for 1,800 3-19 year olds (and part of the prestigious Harris Federation), a state-of-the-art medical centre and over 30 independent cafes, shops and restaurants. It will combine the vibrancy of city living with the best of green, sustainable space – spanning over 27 hectares of land (the equivalent of St James’ Park) including landscaped gardens, park areas and courtyards.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Stuart Corbyn from East Village said: “East Village will be London’s most exciting new neighbourhood with a fantastic education campus in its heart and outstanding facilities on its doorstep. We are delighted to be able to support such an educational initiative with CSC and really hope the local children will enjoy the benefits of fun, strategic training and logical thinking which chess can develop.”

About East Village

New homes for Londoners

  • A total of 2,818 homes, including 1,379 affordable homes
  • Homes range from 1 bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom townhouses
  • Designed for modern, sustainable living by 16 world renowned architects with construction, fittings and finishes to the highest standard
  • Built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4
  • 11 individually designed areas provide neighbourhood character

Accessible living

  • Just under 10% of East Village’s 2,818 homes specifically adapted for disabled people These 240 homes have been designed to exceed industry standards set by HABINTEG and are 100% ‘Lifetime Homes Compliant’
  • Adapted homes have design features to allow for chairlifts, hoists and rails to be installed throughout, kitchens have clear spaces underneath work surfaces, all electrical switches are easily accessible and there are downstairs bedrooms and bathroom facilities in all homes of more than two storeys
  • The wider neighbourhood has also been designed to accommodate disabled residents with dedicated disabled parking for maximum access, charging points, illuminated and level entrances, wide doorways and large lobby spaces which are wide enough for at least two wheelchairs.
  • Access to each of the buildings within East Village is also consistent, with gently sloping ramp access ensuring the process of moving from home to outside transport is step-free and straightforward.

Spacious living

  • Spans over 27 hectares of land, equivalent to St James’s Park
  • More than 10 hectares of new parks and open space
  • Mature landscaped gardens with five park areas, public squares, play areas and courtyards
  • Next to The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – 285 hectares of parkland, waterways, and nature trails connected by paths for jogging cycling and walking
  • Connected to the Lea Valley – 26 miles of parkland from Hertfordshire to the River Thames, with the 10,000-acre Lea Valley Park

Time and choice

  • One of the best connected neighbourhoods in London
  • Stratford International and Stratford Regional stations offering links to London’s key locations
  • Reach the west end in 20 minutes, St Pancras International in 6 minutes (by High Speed 1), Canary Wharf in 12 minutes, Ashford in less than 30 minutes and London airports within an hour
  • Over 30 local and independent shops, cafes and restaurants
  • Steps away from Westfield Stratford City, Europe’s newest and largest shopping centre parks
  • Adjacent to the world-class sporting venues of The Olympic Park
  • A world-class education campus, Chobham Academy, with 1,800 places for students aged 3-19
  • A state-of-the-art medical centre with full range of healthcare services

What’s happening now at East Village

  • East Village is currently being transformed following its use as athletes’ accommodation during the Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer.
  • Brand new kitchens are being fitted, and partitions are being taken away that created extra bedrooms for the athletes during the Games. Final fittings and landscaping works will take place in coming months to prepare East Village for its first residents to move into this summer.

For further details look at www.eastvillagelondon.co.uk

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I was not paid in any way to write this post.