Northamptonshire has had an Olympics gold rush with a huge £100m going into the county economy through London 2012 contract deals.
Just one day before the most anticipated sporting event in recent times begins, the Telegraph can reveal that a total of 65 Olympic contracts were won by county businesses.
This is 21 per cent of the total £460m contracts haul the East Midlands won as a region, meaning about £100m will go into Northamptonshire.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s positive news for the county.
“There’s a lot of doom and gloom about the recession, but a lot of our local businesses won very lucrative contracts.
“You hear about Silverstone and what that brings into Northamptonshire, but these figures are bigger than Silverstone.”
The total value of contracts won in the East Midlands was worth more than North, Yorkshire, Wales and Scotland.
Local success stories include Pitsford-based Novacroft, whose contract win saw them employ almost 100 new employees, and Northampton’s Briggs and Forrester, which won a £25m contract for electrical and mechanical work at the athletes’ village.
Mr Griffiths said: “Those businesses who have won should make a profit and they will then pay taxes which builds into the system.
“You’ve then got their employees spending money in local outlets.
“It’s a knock-on effect that is putting money into our economy. A lot of businesses have really taken advantage of the situation for the Olympics which is only on our doorstep.
“We’ve also seen local hotels being booked up by delegates and tourists as London is so close to the county.”
Mr Griffiths also said he hoped that winning these contracts will stand businesses in good stead for future bidding wars, with the Commonwealth Games to take place in Scotland.
He said most of the county contracts won were from smaller businesses.
Contracts range from building construction to transport, branding, and venues.
It is claimed that that over 12 years, the Olympics will bring in £16.5 billion into the UK’s economy, with two thirds of this generated prior and during the Games, in a report from the Lloyds Banking Group.
Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership was tasked with promoting county business and visitor numbers during the Games.
Head of marketing Kate Dent said the partnership had been promoting the county’s offer by publicising Northamptonshire to transport providers and tourism bosses, advertising local events, as well as championing local food and drink.
She said: “Visitors spend about £965m a year in Northamptonshire so even a three per cent uplift in that figure will be a significant number.
“We’re less than an hour to London and any money spent here goes into our economy. We can expect food and drink to be an area where a lot is spent.”
Joanne Phelps, HR manager at Novacroft, who have recently employed 96 new staff, said: “We are delighted to have won additional business for the provision of travel advice during the Games. It feels good to be able to provide employment in the local area.”
Wellingborough’s Simon O’Neill Design and Promotions has been given a contract to produce branded goods for the Kiribati Olympic team.
Managing director Simon O’Neill said: “It’s good for the business moving forward as being associated with the Olympics is great PR for us.”
Sonifex in Irthlingborough, which manufacturers communication devices, will see some of its equipment used at the Olympics. A & L Paving, Northampton, also won a contract to help build the Olympic Park by putting in kerbs and paving.
The Olympics will have a big impact on the county’s sport, the director of the organisation that is tasked with getting Northamptonshire healther, predicts.
Chris Holmes, director of Northamptonshire Sport, said: “The real increase in sport participation will occur after the Games, but we’ve seen increases in people playing the likes of cycling and hockey.
“I think we’ve got programmes in place here to capture people during the Games and hold them there.”
Hundreds of 14 to 25-year-olds have been given coaching sessions, schools have taken part in contests, and 200 local volunteers have been recruited as the organisation looks to take advantage of the surge in sporting interest.
Mr Holmes added: “We’ve got a lot of sporting events coming up, and I hope to see in 10 years time a massive change in people’s attitudes.”
G4S failed volunteer
A retired policeman who waited five months for G4S to contact him after they offered him an Olympic job has branded the private security firm a “complete and utter joke”.
G4S offered David Pegg, 56, of Corby, a job as a security team leader at the Olympics in February, but failed to contact him again until July 10.
The under-fire firm told the former detective constable he needed to be vetted, have a CRB check and asked for a certificate of service to prove he had worked for Northamptonshire Police, despite him having already worked for G4S as a consultant to the county force and West Midlands Police since retiring in 2009.
Mr Pegg emailed his certificate and details but never heard back from G4S.
He said: “I tend to think the security is a complete and utter joke.”