GL events is a strong believer that events don’t take place in isolation from the communities where they are situated, and those involved in delivering major events have a duty to give something back and provide a social value framework to this community which will have a lasting wider benefit.
Legacy is a much-used concept in terms of major international events and every major event strives to create legacy – whether this is through the redeployment of event facilities for use within the community; encouraging an increased take up of a particular sport thanks to the spotlight cast upon it by the event; or whether legacy occurs through the support which is distributed within the wider community.
Legacy is something that GL events takes seriously as an organisation. As a major player in the events industry, the effect of an event on its host area is an important consideration. From an environmental perspective, our focus is on minimising a negative impact of an event – leaving a location “untouched” by the impact of temporary infrastructure. This is something that we are successful at achieving thanks to our considerable experience in the world of event overlay – and operating in diverse locations including historic and environmentally sensitive sites.
But the proactive approach – of leaving a positive imprint on a host city or local economy is sometimes harder to achieve but is something that is increasingly key within a supplier’s event delivery contract.
GL events’ approach in any community, is to work with third-sector organisations whose aim is to break down barriers to inclusion through their service. In the context of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we showcased how work with charities and social enterprises in the community can sit alongside event project delivery. The prioritisation of social value commitments by the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, throughout its event supply chain was quite visionary and ensured that suppliers and sponsors in all tiers developed value and meaningful benefit which could contribute to the long-term legacy of The Games. It has set the bar high, for future Organising Committees and suppliers to major multi-sport, multi-venue international events.
Outside of the need for contractual compliance in delivery of overlay or other temporary event infrastructure, GL events actively seek opportunities to work with third-sector partners to extend the reach and impact of events and to give its employees the opportunity to give back through volunteering.
Director of Marketing and CSR, Rachel Baker, explains what motivates GL events decisions and how they select charity and social enterprise partners.
“Major events are great for bringing people together. And GL events’ motto is just that – Bringing People Together. You only have to look at the way in which events like the London 2012 Olympics, Glasgow 2018 European Championships or Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games capture the imagination of a city, a region or even a country and create a sense of shared experience and positivity. But we are realistic that this shared experience is sometimes limited in its reach and inclusivity. This isn’t necessarily because the event isn’t trying to be inclusive – but rather because it can be difficult for some individuals to feel engaged – to feel a sense of belonging. Sometimes this isolation extends beyond an event itself, to isolation from wider community groups in which the individual lives. This can form barriers which stop individuals from participating in their community and from feeling a sense of belonging, this presents challenges for emotional wellbeing.
There are incredible organisations out there, that seek to break down barriers to engagement, employment, and integration by providing a social value framework in order to add value to local areas and make a positive impact on individuals’ lives. These are the organisations which GL events seek to work alongside. By finding ways to support their activity in a local community, our objective is that the long-term impact or legacy of an event taking place in this area will have a reach far beyond the event itself, and will make a difference in the lives of individuals who might be disadvantaged in society.
In 2022, through our work with Jericho in Birmingham, we saw this objective brought to life, and witnessed the transformational outcome of the right support and opportunity, in the right place at the right time. We made a commitment to use this model moving forwards to add value and make a positive impact in communities.”
In 2023 one of our major delivery projects has been the provision of Overlay for the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, which took place between 3rd and 13th August. The event was unique in that it brought together 13 separate UCI Cycling World Championships across 11 days and seven venues within Glasgow and across the wider region.
Alongside our Overlay delivery service, GL events chose to support the work of an inspirational charity organisation called Common Wheel which supports the wellbeing of local people with mental illness through meaningful activities. The vision of Common Wheel is “that people with mental illness in Glasgow are able to live a meaningful and satisfying life and contribute to society. Common Wheel’s activities improve mental wellbeing, increase employment skills, reduce isolation and challenge stigma within the community.
The organisation operates four distinct community projects which aim to provide a social value framework that has positive outcomes within the community. These are: Build Your Own Bike Workshop, Climbing, Music and the Carnival Club. Over the course of the summer, GL events has supported both the Build Your Own Bike Workshop and the Carnival Club. You can read more about our support and what social impact it has had in a forthcoming blog.
Find out more about Common Wheel and how you can support them here: https://commonwheel.org.uk