The Olympic Games were a catalyst for British people to take pride in their society once again, according to a charity that works with disadvantaged children.
Gracia McGrath, chief executive of Chance UK, said during the Games "cynicism was swept aside and the nation fully embraced a pride in this country and its achievements".
"As part of the legacy of the Olympics, I would like to see a more permanent pride in ourselves," she said.
"Taking a holiday from the bad news enabled us to see what can be achieved when we take responsibility for our society. It also brought into sharp focus what a difference a year can make.
"And if we are going to put things right we need to take responsibility for all of our society on an ongoing basis and not just once every 64 years."
Chance UK, the charity Ms McGrath has run since 2001, provides a successful one-on-one mentoring programme for children aged five to 11 with behavioural difficulties.
Children at risk display a range of behaviours, including a propensity for violence, a feeling of exclusion, no sense of right and wrong and getting so angry and frustrated that they cannot control their emotions.
“Those children will continue feeling angry and excluded and without a positive intervention those feelings will grow as they get older and create our next generation of rioters” explains Ms McGrath.
Chance UK provides tailored one-to-one mentoring with a carefully screened, trained and supervised volunteer mentor.
Those mentors then work to help the child develop more positive behaviours and raise their self esteem. The children also learn new skills and engage in positive structured activities such as sports that can help them develop in their mentoring year and beyond.
The London Olympics have been a bright spot in the lives of many disadvantaged children in the capital.
“Children see people succeeding who have worked very, very hard for many years," Ms McGrath said.
"That is incredibly positive. It is great to see how seriously the medal winners take their responsibilities as role models. They are the exact opposite to the role models some children see, people who sold some drugs and bought a flash car or the overnight fame achieved by reality TV ‘stars'."
In London, Chance UK has funding to work with 180 children a year.
“We could easily work with double that number and the only thing that is stopping us is the money”, says Ms McGrath.
“We need to move away from talking about supporting early intervention to financially supporting it. In other words politicians need to put their money where their mouth is, or help small effective organisations access rich donors.
“I know we are in a time of austerity, but we will be poorer in the long-run, if those children who are in need of support do not get it, become our next generation of rioters and gang members and ultimately a fixture within the criminal justice system. This will also ultimately destroy any future hopes for those children.”
Let's make sure that our next generation are the products of summer 2012 not summer 2011.