Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

London Legacy Development Corporation
London Legacy Development Corporation | 2014 - 2024 |

Maintaining the legacy of London 2012

Following the highs of London 2012 when the Olympic Park was held under a global spotlight, there was great anticipation of what the Olympic legacy would mean for the UK. An incremental part of this legacy for East London is Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which has undergone a colossal transformation since the close of the Games.

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About the park

The sheer size of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park combined with the breadth of facilities that it has brought to East London is on a scale not seen before. The 100ha Park consists of two distinctively different areas, with the new Waterden Road providing a route through the Park and access to Westfield Stratford City.

The North Park extends the 26 mile long green corridor of the Lee Valley Regional Park and provides landscapes rich in biodiversity with sculpted landforms, tree lined avenues, rivers and ponds and naturalised green spaces. In addition, the North Park offers facilities such as the Timber Lodge with Unity Kitchen Café and Tumbling Bay Playground, Copper Box in addition to the Lee Valley VeloPark and Hockey and Tennis Centre.

The South Park is located within the branches of the River Lea and links four spectacular attractions in the immediate vicinity: the 114m tall ArcelorMittal Orbit, Aquatics Centre, Olympic Stadium and the London 2012 Gardens. The South Park is a lively, public landscape which hosts numerous activities, events and attractions, making it a destination for locals, Londoners and tourists.

The Park’s stunning venues and open spaces sit alongside thousands of new homes designed to suit all needs, well served with new schools and businesses to create vibrant communities.

Maintaining the legacy

Managing a Park on this scale with such a diverse range of open spaces, facilities, events and social responsibility commitments is no mean feat. Following a competitive procurement process, idverde was selected as grounds maintenance partner in early 2012 in alliance with Balfour Beatty Workplace as facilities management partner. The maintenance contracts span a decade after the Park’s official opening in April 2014, with potential extension to 2029.

idverde’s team moved onto site in September 2012 to help monitor the transformation works and to begin maintenance as areas were completed. Since then, idverde has been and remains responsible for the comprehensive management and maintenance of the green, blue and grey estate and the day to day operational management of the Park, including:

  • Establishment of the vast array of horticultural features, whilst keeping the park open to the influx of visitors
  • Ensuring that the Park meets the dual needs of a local park for local communities and an iconic national and international destination
  • Developing the legacy by providing a centre for horticultural excellence
  • Monitoring, conservation and enhancement of the biodiversity of the waterways and parklands
  • Contributing to and enhancing the wider green infrastructure network across the capital and provide a model for the delivery of ecosystem services
  • Ensuring that opportunities are provided for all individuals to benefit through enjoyment, relaxation, employment, activities, sport, learning and training
  • Ensuring that the Park is safe and accessible for all

Social value

As a contracting partner of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), idverde has committed to the values and objectives of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. These values have been translated into a number of key themes including sustainability, accessibility, biodiversity, local growth, equality and inclusion.

Equality & Inclusion

In readiness for full opening, idverde took on over 30 extra staff (including 2 apprentices) to add to the team of 27 already employed on the Park during transformation. The contract will create over 275 job opportunities and 50 apprenticeship opportunities, with recruitment actively targeting the Host Boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Greenwich. Recruitment will ensure the numbers of female, disabled and ethnic minority employees reflect the local community and locally sourced employees account for 85% of the workforce.

Sustainability

At the outset of the project ‘Our Parklife’ – a joint venture Community Interest Company – was set up with local partners Renaisi, a social enterprise, and the environmental charity Groundwork London. The CIC brings together the skills and knowledge of locally based regeneration organisations with large employers like idverde. Its mission is to connect local people to the Park through employment, volunteering and training.

Our Parklife has worked with the long-term unemployed and bridged the gap between jobseekers and available positions. It has successfully established links with local agencies providing skills, volunteering and training opportunities to long-term unemployed residents preparing them for work on the Park. Our Parklife has run a number of ‘Pre Employment Training Programmes’ offering NVQ Level 1 training to over 40 local residents and a guaranteed interview to those who successfully complete the programme. In the first year 32 local people completed the course, 8 got jobs on the Park and 15 gained employment elsewhere.

idverde supported Our Parklife to deliver over 200 volunteer days assisting conservation activity on the Park and initiated the first Garden volunteer programme successfully embedding volunteers into the Parks operational teams.

No ordinary park, no ordinary management

LLDC has positioned Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as ‘No Ordinary Park’ and since it began to open that has proven to be the case. Summer 2013 saw a packed schedule of large-scale music events such as ‘Summer Stampede’, the Wireless Festival which saw 180,000 revellers hit the Park over three days, and the Anniversary Games in the Stadium. This has continued throughout 2014 and 2015 with numerous large-scale sporting and music events attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the park.

With much of the site still under construction and tight security restrictions in place in 2013 during the first major events, idverde took on extra responsibilities to assist with the events schedule. The horticultural team was on hand to keep the site clean and restore the diverse landscaped areas to a high quality condition after each event. It is not just events which keep the team busy, the impact of day to day visitors – animal as well as human – need to be managed on a daily basis. For example, at the Tumbling Bay playground we restore the play areas to pristine condition every morning including the sweeping and topping up of around ½ tonne of sand, often for over 500 children to come along during the day and redistribute it all over again.

idverde’s waterways team has taken on the role of security, rescue and first aid on the water. To do this, the team has undergone formal training and now includes two qualified Swift Water Rescue technicians and three ‘First Person on Scene’ qualified first aiders. In addition to the delivery of grounds maintenance across the Park’s blue and green estates, idverde has continued to be involved in the further development of the Park, taking on construction of new zones such as the Orchard Project at Mandeville Place.