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THE INCLUSIVITY LEGACY

 

now the games over

The real legacy will not be how successfully the sports buildings and athletes’ village are converted into post-games mode, but whether people’s minds and attitudes are converted in the long run.

From the Architects Journal to The Big Issue and Christianity magazine the theme has been inclusivity, from Muslim women taking part, to ethnic minority members of Team GB, and the way the paralympians were cheered in the torch relay (by 5000 in Tring) and performances.

"So Allah be praised, then, to see action women of all skin colours and religions running, jumping, falling, soaring, hurling through the air, at the peak of their abilities, doing something they love. The fact that these women are not merely fit, but fit for purpose, is a tremendous role model for the younger generation."
Rachel Johnson in The Big Issue Aug 13-19 2012 to take one example.

The initial enthusiasm will subside – you cannot stay forever on Mount Olympus, but must come down to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. And walk the talk.

There will be funding issues over the building conversions, and controversy over future funding of the sports and arts.

But now is the time for change in Nation and Church. Both are in agreement, and the motivation for it is not a tragedy, but something we celebrated together, a much firmer basis for change. Now is the time for Christians to step in again. We can act individually immediately – put into practice our changed ideals, and acknowledge and respect everyone we meet, speaking to people we usually shun.

But we must act collectively if government and institutions are to change their attitudes and policies. The Big Issue was particularly positive, and included an article on Octavia Hill, a Christian who "revolutionised Britain’s approach to social reform."

Hill recognized the importance of relationships, which we need to emphasise once again, particularly as we cannot afford all welfare "rights."

Christianity quoted Patrick Regan Chief Executive of youth charity XLP, "We’ve seen some incredible intervention projects appearing that recognize the key to solving these problems in the longer term is through relationship …. Only through relationships can a young person realise that change is possible; this encourages them to work hard and alter their behaviour and attitudes."

Inclusivity must also be an economic one (we are all in it together), and include both Cameron’s "hard-working and problem families," graduates and disaffected youth, last year’s rioters. We must be in it for the Marathon as well as the short term.

Only then can we really design inclusive environments, though in the interim we continue to make the small interventions, designing places where people can stop and talk to strangers, places which feel safe, as a foretaste of what is to come.

An encouragement that this will happen was the Architects Journal for 13th September publishing a letter based on this feature

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