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2012 Lives: Legacy Youth hope for continued interest


2012 Lives: Stuck in the middle

A young Londoner who is helping to create a lasting legacy from the Olympics says she's worried people may become disconnected to the Games before the full impact of their plans can be felt.

As a member of the Olympic Legacy Youth Panel Arfah Farooq has conversations about long term planning and urban design of the five Olympic boroughs with other young people who live within them.

In contrast to those discussions, at home in East Ham, speaking to her family is very different as they are very sceptical about the effects the events in 2012 will have throughout the borough.

"Living on the edge of Newham my family often tell me they don't see much happening in the area," she said.

"I worry more and more people will start to think like my family before the Games arrive; that people will just lose interest before we can even implement the legacy plans."

Arfah Farooq
Arfah introduced the Youth Legacy Panel Manifesto at their opening event in 2007.

The Legacy Youth Panel was set up to give young people a direct influence of shaping the post-Olympic look of East London.

Arfah Farooq enjoys being a member, but says it's often like role reversal when she returns home, and having to convince her family about the benefits to East London.

"Sometimes I do feel stuck in the middle but I think seeing the difference in opinion helps me to keep my views balanced," she said.

Although she says the recent re-routing of the Olympic marathon to miss out on going through London's east-end has endorsed her family's thoughts. It's something that they agree on.

"I think it's extremely bad news. They're happy to use and promote the east end to get the bid and get the Games here, yet they seem to be ashamed to show the world what the east end really is."

Arfah has long been involved with the Youth Legacy Panel and introduced the group's manifesto at their opening event in 2007.

"Since we first met the thing I've enjoyed the most is seeing plans for the park before they've gone out to the general public."

Arfah is a contributor to BBC London's "2012 Lives" project. She's one of a number of people who will tell their own stories of how the 2012 Olympics is affecting their lives in the build up to the Games.

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