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County urged to maximise Olympics opportunity

DAME KELLY: "It's the chance of a lifetime"
DAME KELLY: "It's the chance of a lifetime"

KENT residents and businesses have been urged to make the most of the "magic" of the Olympic Games.

Countywide sport, regeneration, economic development, tourism, and volunteering are among the areas that can benefit from London’s hosting of the Olympics, delegates were told on Monday night at the official launch of the Kent Strategy for the 2012 Games.

Mike Hill, chairman of the Kent Olympic and Paralympic Advisory Board, explained how the strategy had been created to ensure Kent maximised the opportunities afforded by the Games.

It was written by nine sectoral task groups, focussing on schools and young people, arts, sport, volunteering, communications and media, tourism, skills and training, economic development and regeneration, and transport.

Stephanie Holt, Kent Manager for the 2012 Games, said the campaign was looking to encourage people and organisations in each of the nine sectors to get the most out of the Games.

She said: "We have to look at using the Olympics as a catalyst to achieve our long term goals."

The Kent School Games, a biennial event involving all the county’s schools, a free support package from Business Link Kent and a customer care initiative led by Kent Tourism Alliance were examples of some of the projects the campaign has already delivered.

Dame Kelly Holmes CBE, double gold medallist at the Athens Games in 2004 and patron of the Kent Campaign, said that Kent had made greater strides than other areas of the country in how to use the Games.

She said: "It's the chance of a lifetime. It's a chance not only to make a difference to your business and yourselves, but to get behind this opportunity and leave a lasting legacy of sport.

"The whole country can benefit from the Games, I travel the country and see the enthusiasm, but Kent is one step ahead of other counties."

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