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London First awards celebrate inspiring London projects and people

London’s business community gathered tonight (17th January) to celebrate the people, organisations and companies that have contributed to making London the best city in the world in which to work, study and play in 2012.

Introducing London First’s inaugural London Awards Dinner at the Globe Theatre, Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“London First campaigns on behalf of business, but business doesn’t thrive in a vacuum. With these awards, London’s businesses are recognising and celebrating some of the individuals and organisations that have contributed in a wide range of ways to making London a leading World City.  The award nominations were of the highest category and all the individuals and organisations involved have made a real difference to the capital.”

The winner for the Investment in London’s Future Award, sponsored by Grosvenor, was Crossrail for its Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA). 

Working in partnership with the Skills Funding Agency, and with industry-wide sponsorship, Crossrail has developed the UK’s first training facility to provide people with the key skills required to work in tunnel excavation and underground construction.  The Academy will equip workers not only for Crossrail jobs but also to work on future tunnelling projects in the UK and abroad. The Academy was established in Ilford in September 2011 and will train around 3,500 people in key construction skills over the lifetime of the Crossrail project as well as providing training for other construction projects. TUCA is a large building with a mock tunnel to reflect the scale of underground working conditions. Facilities replicate the key areas of a fully-automated tunnelling project.

Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “The Tunnelling Academy is playing a crucial role in equipping people with the necessary skills and training to work on the Crossrail project and help transform rail travel across the capital. With an unprecedented amount of future tunnelling projects in the pipeline, the Academy will also continue to be a vital resource in meeting future industry demand. Having started my own career as an apprentice, I care passionately about the value of high-quality skills training and this award is welcome recognition of the importance of investing in a new generation of construction talent to drive the industry forwards.”

The winner of the Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life, sponsored by UK Power Networks, was the London Evening Standard for its Get London Reading Campaign.   More than 3,500 primary school children will benefit from reading volunteers as a result of the Standard’s £1?million literacy campaign.  The scheme has been held up by Ofsted and the European Union as a new education model to be rolled out across Britain and the Continent.  In each instance, the success of the campaign has relied first and foremost on the generosity of Standard readers.

David Cohen, Campaigns Editor of the London Evening Standard, said: “Reading is one of the essential life skills, and we are delighted to be able help more than 3,500 London children at 400 schools improve their skills and begin a life-long journey of reading. Credit is due the readers of the Evening Standard who have signed up to be volunteers in their hundreds, laudably giving up their time to go into schools for three hours a week every week to help other people’s children, to our outstanding campaign partners Beanstalk who train and organise the reading volunteers, and to London’s business community and the Mayor’s Fund for London, who have funded this initiative and helped us raise more than £1 million to make this crucial investment in our city’s children.”

The Champion for London Award, sponsored by the Canary Wharf Group, was awarded to the London 2012 volunteer Games Makers for their outstanding work welcoming visitors and spectators to venues during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The award was accepted by Clare Gosbee, who worked as a preGames volunteer and was part of the event services team at the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park.

Lord Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) said:  “LOCOG recruited over 70,000 volunteers who gave their time to work at Games venues carrying out a range of duties in the run-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.   They made the Games.  Their cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and welcoming attitude to spectators will be remembered the world over and built on a fantastic volunteering base that is a fundamental part of British life.”

Other nominations for this Award were Seb Coe himself as Chair of LOCOG and Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

There was also a one-off award made for the Lasting Olympic Benefit award, sponsored by The International Quarter, Stratford City, for a tangible improvement to the capital’s attractiveness that is directly attributable to the Olympics.  The winner was the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for the development of the Olympic Park leisure facilities and the Athletes’ Village.

The ODA was responsible for the construction of the venues and infrastructure associated with the London 2012 Games and in particular with those on the Olympic Park, the centrepiece of the Games.   It is currently responsible for retrofitting the Athletes’ Village as it is turned into a new community for London, called East Village.

Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the ODA, said: “The ODA is delighted to have won this award, which recognises that not only was a fantastic stage for the Games built, but also that an important part of London was re-energised.  The Olympic Park was the centrepiece of a magical summer of sport, which provided us all with lasting memories. But it is going forwards that we will see the long-term reward as the ODA, Legacy Corporation and its partners continue to work hard to ensure that the legacy we set out to create is given every chance to thrive.”

The awards were voted for by London First’s members, representing some of the capital’s largest employers, across a wide range of business sectors and higher education.


Notes to Editors:

The awards and nomination shortlist were as follows:

Investment in London’s future

Argent, London & Continental Railways and DHL – for the Kings Cross Central project

Crossrail – for the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy

Sellar Property Group – for The Shard, London Bridge


Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life

Crown Estate – for improvements to Regent Street and its contribution to pedestrian and traffic improvements in the West End

The Evening Standard – for its Get London Reading campaign

TfL – for the new Routemaster bus


Champion For London

Sir John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority

Lord Coe, chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG)

The London 2012 Games Makers (the volunteers)


Lasting Olympic benefit (one-off award for 2013)

The Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) – for improvements to East London’s waterways

The ODA – for the Olympic Park leisure facilities and the Athletes’ Village

Transport for London – for its more confident approach to managing the system during and after the Games


London First is the London First is a business membership organisation with a mission to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

For further information contact Fran Edwards, Media Relations Manager at London First on 020 7665 1427, mobile 07786 437249 or



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