Manchester's leaders hail legacy of 2002 Games
"The Games accelerated regeneration and economic growth in the city by 20 years or more."
July 12, 2012
It's hard to believe it is ten years since the Commonwealth Games took place in Manchester. A decade since the city was the focus of the world's attention for 11 thrilling days.
Time has marched on, but the memories are still fresh. Who could forget the moment David Beckham and Kirsty Howard handed the jubilee baton to the Queen? Or the unabashed enthusiasm of the volunteers, proudly showing off their great city?
Today, the city's leaders emphasise how the city continues to benefit from hosting the Games. Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, says: "The Commonwealth Games in 2002 was designed to be a driver and a catalyst for change in the host city. Part of our successful bid for the Games was our commitment to regeneration and improvement work pre and post-Games, while creating a lasting legacy for communities, residents and Games volunteers. Our model has now been adopted by many cities as the benchmark for a new era in large event hosting.
"The year 2002 saw 18 million people visit Manchester. Today upward of 90 million people visit the city each year – a testament to the city gaining a genuine status on the world stage as a renowned destination for arts, culture, sports and business. A reputation that has helped the city secure the much needed investment that keeps the city's economy healthy - critical in these difficult financial times."
Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, adds: "Since the early 90s East Manchester had been ear-marked for regeneration to turn the tide of 30 years of industrial decline and falling employment opportunities. East Manchester was home to the city's forgotten communities and the Games were the turning point for the area.
"Driving the regeneration through sport, the city was able to secure the Games and provide the city and wider region with the world beating sport and leisure facilities that have made East Manchester a renowned centre for training and competition – attracting some of the world's best athletes, while giving the rising stars of tomorrow the tools they need to hone their skills.
"The Games accelerated regeneration and economic growth in the city by 20 years or more and the ten-year anniversary puts in to perspective how much the city of Manchester has grown and changed over the past decade."
The regeneration is on-going, despite the tight economic climate, adds Sir Richard: "We're building on the sports and leisure facilities that drove the area's regeneration, while the entire city has enjoyed the benefits of transport improvements, in particular the expansion of the Metrolink service out to Oldham and Rochdale. Further regeneration programmes have also driven varied projects from new schools and homes to improving community services such as libraries and leisure facilities.
"Hundreds of jobs have been created helping local people in to work - creating a sense of pride that you need for successful and sustainable neighbourhoods, and recently we've teamed up with Manchester City FC to bring in investment for an exciting future programme of regeneration, including the Etihad Campus – a new 80 acre football and community hub – that will benefit local people for years to come. "
Photo on home page: Mark Waugh, with thanks to Simon Walker, Manchester City Council press office.