Cole inspired

'Inspiration' was the keyword as youngsters from local Newham schools teamed up with West Ham United striker Carlton Cole to show just what an impact this summer's London 2012 Olympic Games will have and the legacy it can leave behind.

The event, organised by the West Ham United Learning Zone Centre, saw the children meet at Plaistow Primary School to showcase a project which has seen them explore the legacy of the biggest sporting event in the world and the inspiration it can bring now and in the future.

Over ten two-hour sessions, the children enjoyed researching and re-enacting the history of the Olympics, going right back to ancient Greek times, designing an Olympic and Paralympic comic as well as writing, shooting and editing their own promotional films.

Cole met up to see what the project was all about and also took part in a question and answer session with the youngsters, who asked him about his own inspirations and how he has achieved his aims in football. He then presented certificates to the youngsters to mark their achievements.

The No9 said: "This was a lot about inspiration and these kids were very inspirational - I love attending events like this with children and youngsters from the local community. They were amazing, they had worked hard on something they clearly enjoyed doing and the aim for them is to better themselves and find the right path in life.

"To me that is inspirational - these kids are still a bit young to know what they really want to do when they are older, but already they are using time they have to themselves after school wisely and it is heart-warming to see the effort and focus they have put into doing this.

"Credit to the teachers, volunteers and our club for supporting schemes like this, you can see for yourself here, just how important it is."

Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole was inspired by this group of Newham youngsters

Cole said the forthcoming Olympics and Paralympics are already having an impact in the London Borough of Newham, even though the games themselves have not yet begun.

"You just have to look at how the area has been boosted already - everyone is excited about seeing the sports in the summer but already you have new transport links, shopping centres, new jobs created and youngsters being able to go out and enjoy playing sports with this on their doorstep."

The course was organised through a partnership between West Ham United Learning Centre and the London Borough of Newham Employability and Skills, with funding provided by Awards for All.

Learning Centre Manager Pia Tanneraho said: "It was a special treat for the children to meet Carlton, we thank him for coming along. They have really worked hard on their projects and it gave them an extra boost to show Carlton what they have done and ask him questions, as he is at the top of his sport.

"It was all about inspiration and I think the children got a lot out of this and I think they have even more of an understanding of what impact the Olympics will have on the area where they either live or go to school."