Anger as community groups lose Hackney college studios to Olympics volunteers

Parents, children and community groups got fired up this week after learning they would lose their practice studios at Hackney Community College (HCC) to up to 70,000 Olympics volunteers next year.

Organisations such as a martial arts school, a youth dance company and religious groups will be blocked from using SPACe Studios in Falkirk Street, Shoreditch, for six months in the run-up to the 2012 Games.

This follows the decision by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to use the college as the location where most of the 70,000 Games Makers will receive their training.

Sandra Heaney, of Phoenix Martial Arts, criticised college bosses for failing to consult them and said: “Everybody is going to be out with nowhere to go. I just think it is absolutely despicable.

A college spokesman said it had offered Phoenix Martial Arts alternative space on campus that they had used in the past.

But Sandra said: “It’s hard for us because we have just bought lots and lots of new equipment and we need somewhere that can accommodate this. I do not know what we are going to do. The parents are up in arms.”


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The Games Makers, who will have roles such as athlete escorts and stewards, will be taught at either the Shoreditch Campus in Falkirk Street, or the college’s site at Morley Hall, Mare Street.

The spokesman added that customers had been told block bookings would not be allowed during the volunteers’ training period but the college had offered support in finding another venue as well as one month free of charge at SPACe thereafter.

“The college is proud to be playing such a huge role in preparing volunteers for the Games which will in the long-term benefit the local community for years to come.”