Only 3% of locals intend to take part in Cultural Olympiad

Natalie Woolman

Only one in 30 residents living in the six Olympic boroughs are planning to attend cultural events associated with the games this summer, including the London 2012 Festival programme.

Residents of London’s six Olympic boroughs – Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – were surveyed from February 27 to April 27 this year.

Just 3% of residents said that they intended to follow the games by taking part in a games-related cultural activity or event. A “games-related cultural activity” includes all events under the banner of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad. There are free events scheduled under the London 2012 Festival in all 33 London boroughs.

According to the Olympic and Paralympic Host Borough Survey 2012 carried out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the research into the views and behaviour of residents “will form a key part of the assessment of the impact of the games on east London”.

However, the government insists that the results – which were published at the end of June – are out of date. A DCMS spokesman told The Stage: “This survey was conducted earlier this year, before the full London 2012 Festival programme had been published and this finding is now completely out of date. Following the festival’s launch there has been a huge surge in public interest, with more than 100,000 people attending the Big Weekend in Hackney [June 23-24]. There has been a huge amount of interest in the wide range of events taking place across London.”

The London 2012 Festival was officially launched on April 26 and tickets for the Hackney Weekend were made available on March 25 and 26 – during the survey period.

In response to a question asking residents whether preparations for staging the Olympics in east London had had a positive impact by “improved leisure and cultural facilties in your local area”, 37% of respondents agreed and 33% disagreed. However, 50% agreed that the “long-term impacts will have a positive impact” by improving leisure and cultural facilities in their local area.

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