The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will act as a catalyst for the development of sport in the UK. Government recognised the importance of the regions in securing the London bid and Northern Ireland must maximise on the opportunities presented by The Games ‘on its doorstep’ to provide a sustainable legacy for sport in Northern Ireland.
The development of sporting provision in Northern Ireland, as a result of The Games will mirror the aspirations established by London and will deliver a similar range of benefits including regional development, increased participation in sport, improved standards of excellence, a healthier population, social cohesion and sustainability.
The Games are the catalyst to develop sport in every region of the UK and to address some of the infrastructure deficit which has contributed to the underdevelopment of sports in Northern Ireland. The Olympic Games are city specific i.e. as far as possible, all the events will take place in and around London. Northern Ireland could never play any significant part in the delivery of the Games, in the same way as neither Scotland, Wales or Northern England can. This investment is not ‘for’ the Games, it is ‘as a result’ of the Games. It is about securing a lasting legacy form the games for the people of Northern Ireland.
The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure has asked Sport Northern Ireland to deliver this programme on their behalf.
The priorities of these major facilities investments are:
- Theme 1 - increased levels of sustained participation in sport; and
- Theme 2 - increased standards of performance.
The programme also aims to:
- Address the infrastructural deficit in Northern Ireland;
- Regenerate urban and rural areas; and
- Improve the image of Northern Ireland.
The first of these Elite Facilities projects to reach the construction phase is a 50m swimming pool in Bangor. The 50m pool project is subject to a grant of up to £15m from Sport Northern Ireland.