Weymouth and Portland 'Olympic legacy' needs investment

Ben Ainslie
Image caption Ben Ainslie won Olympic sailing gold for Great Britain on the waters off Weymouth & Portland

Creating a true Olympic legacy in Weymouth and Portland needs guaranteed investment, community leaders say.

Weymouth and Portland hosted sailing and windsurfing events at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Andy Matthews, from the Portland Community Partnership, believes future success will rely on guaranteeing investment in people and facilities.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson MP was among those praising organisers at a conference in Taunton earlier.

The South West 2012 Games Legacy Conference recognised the role the region played in provided training camps and recruiting volunteers.

'Motivate children'

David Fursdon, chairman of the South West England Board for the 2012 Games, told delegates the enthusiasm generated in the region this summer and in the years before the Games, has the potential to continue for many years to come.

But Mr Matthews said: "Lots of good work took place in the build-up to the games in terms of engaging youngsters and sports clubs, but that needs to continue.

Image caption A set of Olympic rings carved from Portland stone now have a home on the island

"My only concern is there are lots of clubs and community groups in the area and you need to ensure you are reaching out to all of them.

"More significantly, you have to look after the people who motivate children and young people."

Dorset County Council chief executive David Jenkins pointed to lasting benefits the Games have already created.

He said: "There's an improved road network, the National Sailing Academy, better broadband and new social housing created by building the athletes' village.

"But, added to that, we have greater awareness nationally and internationally of what Weymouth and Portland have to offer and that's a vital avenue to tap into for the future."

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