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ISTR Conference - Paper Proposal – Theme – Active Citizenship and Activism
Dr Fiona Reid - Glasgow Caledonian University
Dr Robert Rogerson - University of Strathclyde
Bridget Sly - Glasgow Life
Dr Raf Nicholson - Glasgow Caledonian University
Volunteering Legacy? A longitudinal study of social connectedness of volunteers at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
There is now an expanding literature on the crucial role of volunteers in the staging of sporting mega-events such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. However, much of the focus has been on the experiences of these volunteers, including their motivations and levels of job satisfaction, in the period immediately prior to and during the event. Those studies that have attempted to track volunteers lives beyond mega-events have focused on short-term intentions and involvement (within one year of the event). What is really needed is an analysis of the long-term impact of a short-term volunteering experience on the lives of those involved.
Volunteers were fundamental to the staging of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Our research is concerned with the Host City Volunteer (HCV) programme, which offered citizens of Glasgow the opportunity to be involved with the Games as a volunteer, and deliberately sought to attract those who had limited prior experience of volunteering. One aim of the HCV programme was to increase the social connectedness of individuals, either through subsequent involvement in volunteering opportunities in the city, or in feeling more connected socially within their own communities.
In this paper we present the results of our research into the impact of the Games on the Host City Volunteers 3 years on. At the time of the Games more than 700 HCVs gave permission to be contacted for future research. We re-established contact with these volunteers, sending out an online questionnaire survey to each HCV which asked questions about their levels of civic engagement and volunteering since the Games. We then conducted focus groups, inviting a sample of HCVs to discuss further the issues raised in the survey.
Overall, we assess how successful the HCV programme was in increasing the social connectedness of Glasgow residents. We will also offer recommendations for future event organisers on what actions might be taken at the time of an event, to enhance the long-term legacy of volunteering.