Tagged / poverty

Fit for nothing: where it all went wrong for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games legacy

File 20180413 127631 123pllx.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

PA, CC BY-SA

By Lynda Challis, Bournemouth University

“Our vision is to host a successful, safe and secure Games that deliver a lasting legacy for the whole of Scotland, and to maximise the opportunities in the run up to, during, and after the Games.”

This was the promise made by the Scottish government to the Commonwealth in 2014. In the 12 days of competition that followed, the city of Glasgow achieved a “hero-like status”, Team Scotland achieved its biggest-ever medal haul of 53 medals, and the games recorded the highest number of tickets sold for a sporting event in Scottish history.

Minister for sport Aileen Campbell hailed the event as a huge success by announcing that Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games was the largest sporting and cultural event ever held in Scotland and had changed the lives of thousands of people.

The message from the host nation was clear: the games were not just about showcasing elite athletes, but about delivering a legacy that would provide a flourishing economy, celebrate cultural diversity, embrace sustainable living, and create a more physically active nation. But four years on, not all those ambitions have been achieved.

Getting a nation off the couch

The games were considered a golden opportunity for Scotland to harness the power of sport to motivate a sedentary nation. A ten-year implementation plan was launched in 2014 to tackle physical inactivity across Scotland as well as myriad other initiatives to support communities in improving the local sporting infrastructure.

Two and a half years after the games, an interim report by the Scottish parliament’s Health and Sport Committee was undertaken to assess the progress made in increasing physical activity levels across Scotland.

The report concluded that there was no evidence of an active legacy being achievable. More alarmingly, any evidence of a relationship between the hosting of a major sporting event and raising the host nation’s physical activity levels was inconclusive.

This raises serious questions as to why such an ambitious legacy aim was included in the first place given the likelihood of failure. It could be that the Scottish government included the aim of increasing participation within its legacy pledge as a desperate attempt to address Scotland’s poor health profile, one of the worst in Europe.

Glasgow’s east end, the main site of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is considered one of the poorest urban areas in Europe. Chris Perkins/Flickr, CC BY-SA

A final evaluation report on the impact of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games published by the Scottish government days before the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games highlighted the harsh reality that the active legacy programme had not “resulted in a step change in population levels of physical activity in Scotland”.

In fact, the GoWell East study that tracked participant levels within the surrounding area of Glasgow found that overall rates had actually declined, with just over 53% achieving the recommended physical activity levels in 2016, compared to 62% in 2012.

However, the east end community surrounding the main games site is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, with some of the worst statistics in Europe for child poverty, health, crime, and alcohol and drug abuse. This could account for the declines in physical activity levels in the east end of Glasgow as the underlying reasons behind social inequalities in sports participation is poverty – not having the income to spend on sport.

Policy fail

But Glasgow is not alone. Other nations hosting major sporting events have failed to capitalise on the perception that a sprinkling of magic over a big sports event will motivate a population to become active. Data that tracked participation levels of Australians before, during and after the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games found they had declined, due – ironically – to Australians spending more time watching sport on TV than taking part themselves.

Undoubtedly, many nations believe that elite sporting success and the hosting of major sporting events on home turf can encourage mass involvement, and in turn create an active nation. An example of this is London’s 2012 Olympic Games, which promised to “do something no other Olympic Games host nation had done before”: inspire a new generation of young people to get involved, get active and take part in sport. This bold statement from the UK government has since been questioned, because in fact, no previous games had even attempted to leverage improved physical activity as a legacy outcome.

Despite their glossy success, London’s Olympics also failed to improve rates of participation in sport. PA, CC BY-SA

It became abundantly clear post-London 2012 that the Olympic Legacy promise had failed to come to fruition with figures showing no more young people taking part in sport than before the games. As has been argued elsewhere, there is still a lack of robust evidence to suggest that the presumed trickle-down effect of hosting a major sporting event can trigger an increase in physical activity.

Big spend but no return

The failure of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 to create and inspire a nation to get active is not really surprising. For more than 40 years, community sports policy in Britain has been plagued by failings to meet physical activity performance indicators set by governments.

This could be down to a variety of factors including: poor policy analysis to inform future policy-making decisions; overambitious or naïve participation targets; inadequate resources to deliver long-term programmes; and changes in direction leading to ambiguity regarding who is responsible for delivery.

Given these issues, it is understandable that grass-roots sport policies and major sporting events have failed to encourage more people to get active. Future government policy on community sport needs to have an all-party group commitment, that is evidence-based to ensure objectives are realistic. It needs to have a long-term plan and be adequately funded to ensure that there are real and lasting results.

In the end, we have to face a difficult truth: governments continue to invest in costly elite sport and big extravagant sporting events that come at the expense of community sport.


Lynda Challis, Academic in Sports Development, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

SURE conference today – Student case study (Georgina Polius)

Georgina Polius is in her second year of BA Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, and is one of the students who has decided to participate in this year’s upcoming Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) conference.

Georgina was encouraged to apply by her lecturer, Dr Rosie Read, who informed the entire class to participate in the SURE conference. “Initially, the word abstract scared me a bit because I would have to condense my work into a few lines but after further discussion with my family, I decided to go for it.”

Her assignment research looks at the underlying problem of food poverty within modern British society which was carried out within a foodbank in Bournemouth, working among the volunteers. “Having grown up in a volunteering culture, it has become for me a way of life,” says Georgina. “More specifically, my interest in the foodbank area was sparked by one of my course units I studied last semester where we were sent into the Bournemouth foodbanks to research the personal reasons behind the seemingly household phenomenon of volunteering.”

“I do believe that SURE is a good way to showcase our work as we, as students, have been given the opportunity for various academics and other students to see our work and receive unbiased feedback, which will help us to improve for the future. It also gives us a place to highlight real world issues.”

“I hope to use this exposure from SURE to improve my self-confidence and assertiveness in public speaking which would be an asset to me as I continue with my university studies and eventually into the world of research,” she says. “Most students would perhaps only get to publish their work or experience this type of exposure if they continued to a Master’s programme.”

The Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence conference will taking place on 7 March 2018. Many undergraduate students from across the university will be presenting their research throughout the conference in a variety of different ways, from presentations to posters and art installations. Please register via the Eventbrite page if you would like to attend.

For more details, visit the SURE website or email the SURE team.

BNAC presentation Jib Acharya

Jib poster BNAC +Edwin 2016FHSS PhD student Jib Acharya presented a poster from his thesis research at last week’s BNAC (Britain-Nepal Academic Council) Study Days in Liverpool.[1]  Jib’s PhD research focused on the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of poor women about nutritious food and the study also identify major food barriers.  He used a mixed-methods approached comprising a survey and qualitative research. The poster at BNAC focused on findings related to mothers’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about nutritious food.  Jib’s research is supervised by Dr. Jane Murphy, Dr. Martin Hind and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.  Some of the preliminary findings of this FHSS thesis have recently been published in two academic journals. [2-3]

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

References:

  1. Acharya, J, van Teijlingen, E, Murphy, J, Hind, M. ‘A Comparative Study on Nutritional Problems in Preschool Aged Children of Kaski district of Nepal’ poster at Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) 14th Annual Nepal Study Days (Liverpool April 2016)
  2. Acharya, J., van Teijlingen, E., Murphy, J., Hind, M. (2015) Assessment of knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards healthy diet among mothers in Kaski, Nepal, Participation 17(16): 61-72.
  3. Acharya, J., van Teijlingen, E., Murphy, J., Hind, M. (2015) Study of nutritional problems in preschool aged children in Kaski District in Nepal, Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Healthcare 1(2): 97-118. http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/1/560/1/12007_JMRH_Acharya.

JRF call in Poverty and Ethnicity: Social Networks

In Spring 2011, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation launched a major new 5 year programme across the UK which aims to increase understanding of the relationship between poverty and ethnicity. Details of the programme can be viewed here.

A considerable amount of research has been undertaken which has highlighted the positive impact that participation in social networks can have. However, their role in enabling people to escape poverty and the way in which they operate for people in different minority ethnic groups is not fully understood. As part of the first phase of this programme of work, we are inviting proposals for a research project which aims to address this important gap in our understanding.

This research aims to develop our understanding of how the experience of accessing social networks differ across a range of people in different ethnic groups and how this impacts on their ability to escape from poverty.

Further information

The submission must contain two attachments: 

For more information about the programme please refer to our poverty and ethnicity page. Proposals should be submitted by 23.59pm on 30 August 2012.

 
 The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

Call for proposals – Places and Local Labour Markets

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has issued a call for proposals for a research project which aims to explore the relationship between living in particular places, poverty outcomes and ethnicity by gaining a more in-depth understanding of why it is the case that:

  • Some areas produce better outcomes for ethnic minority groups in general; 
  • Some areas produce poor outcomes for ethnic minority groups in general;
  • Some ethnic minority groups (and groups within them) have different outcomes in different places.

The research will unpick variations in the structure of opportunities within local labour markets, examine the role of local social networks and take a range of other factors into account, including: how local services are organised, the changing economic context, the migration history of different groups, local political structures and issues around housing and mobility.

There is up to £100,000 available for the project, which will last for 8 months.  The proposed start date is May 2012. 

 The submission deadline is 11 April 2012.

Planning on submitting a proposal?  Then you need to contact beth.hurrell@jrf.org.uk by 15 March 2012

Looking for more information?