Glasgow 2014 legacy for young people in the East End of Glasgow

Monday 31 October 2016

The primary justification for Glasgow 2014 was the delivery of positive and enduring legacy benefits, including the physical and social transformation of the East End of Glasgow, the core hosting zone.

In this qualitative study, we aimed to investigate the legacy impacts for young people living in the East End. ‘Youth’ is considered a time of opportunity and change, when decisions and choices are made which shape future life chances and outcomes. We wanted to explore to what extent, and how, young people’s horizons might have altered as a result of the Commonwealth Games.

Expanded horizons are viewed as positive because of their association with upward social mobility. For disadvantaged young people, this means having high(er) aspirations for the future; being open to new possibilities and opportunities; and having access to wider social networks which grant access to advice, information, and exemplars.

We recruited a broad sample of 26 young people, aged 14-16 years, from two East End schools. These young people were in the senior phase of their school education, a stage when important decisions or commitments are made. They took part in individual interviews and focus groups, before and after the Games. Interviews were also conducted with key informants.

We found that a reputational turnaround for the East End was the dominant legacy benefit. On an individual level, support for the hosting did not necessarily translate into engagement with the various cultural and sporting activities leading to the Commonwealth Games, including the event itself. Only a small minority of young people attributed recent changes in personal goals or in lifestyle behaviours to the CWG, and there was little indication of long-term changes in spatial horizons.

The study revealed the inherent tension between the short-lived thrill of the ‘spectacle’ and the anticipated longevity of its impacts. Young people felt that life had more or less returned to ‘normal’ post-event. A recommendation for policymakers is that they maintain their focus on the social regeneration of the East End post-event and redouble their efforts in engaging with young people. 

The research is available to download now - Briefing paper 27: Glasgow 2014 legacy for young people in the East End.