Olympics legacy: A long-term legacy takes a long time to grow, says Phil Sherwood
Head of Volunteering, London 2012
Tuesday 16 July 2013
In our world of instant gratification, many expected the feel-good factor of London 2012 to just keep going and going. But real legacy doesn’t work like that. It requires a secure foundation on which to build a sustainable model. That’s very different from the model required to deliver one-off events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The organising committee for London 2012 worked at an incredible tempo and intensity. They lit the flame of inspiration; now we need to keep that flame alive. When the organising committee was disbanded, the “volunteering flame” was passed to the established organisations of the voluntary sector. These organisations are structured for the long term. Volunteering at the grass-roots level whether in sport or not, requires long-term commitment, over years rather than days and in foul weather as well as fair.
There have been significant successes in the year since that wonderful summer. In the sporting sector alone, Sport England has attracted 40,000 new volunteers to its Sport Makers programme, Glasgow has been overwhelmed with applicants to volunteer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and new organisations such as Sported have demonstrated that you don’t have to be a sports participant to get involved. And it’s not just in sport; there has been an upturn, however small, in volunteering in general – perhaps because of the Olympic feel-good factor. Less visibly, large corporates, recognising the benefits of an engaged workforce, have been seeking to identify lessons they can learn – about values, ethos and culture – from a diverse, inclusive team assembled in the biggest recruitment drive since the Second World War.
After the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, many people thought that the volunteer legacy had been missed when there was an element of inertia in the first year after those Games. Eleven years on, the Manchester Event Volunteers programme is going from strength to strength.
Everyone who was inspired by London 2012 can play their part in keeping that flame alive and in the country’s collective consciousness. Legacy is a marathon, not a sprint.
* Phil Sherwood was Head of Volunteering and Workforce Training on the Organising Committee of London 2012. He now runs a consultancy, Purple and Red.
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove