Inquiry into the Power of Events


“The Inquiry team believes that successful events can deliver stronger, happier and more thriving communities, but it needs leadership, celebration, planning, encouragement, and funding”  Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett

Can events help build connected, happy and thriving communities? That was the key question explored by an independent inquiry set up by Spirit of 2012.

The 12-month inquiry was chaired by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallet, founder of Helpforce and founding Chair at the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics. The panel was made up of 25 inquiry members, from diverse backgrounds and across UK, including, Angila Chada, Executive Director of Springboard.

The Inquiry recognised that while cultural, sporting and community events can leave lasting social legacies, this is not always achieved and asked what can be learnt to increase the likelihood of events having positive impacts in the community. This has particular importance given the major events planned for 2023 eg 25th anniversary of Good Friday Agreement, Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, 75th anniversary of NHS.

The Inquiry’s remit was to

gather evidence to better understand the impact of events and how they can help deliver positive social and economic impacts, and build social connection between and across people of different backgrounds and between individuals and institutions.
develop workable ideas and recommendations to maximise positive impacts of events.
inform / influence policy makes and those involved in planning events.
In January 2023 the final report ‘How can events help build connected, happy and thriving communities’ was launched, making 5 recommendations to national and local government, funders and event organisers.

1. Long-term impact and a clear plan for ‘what next’ must be the driver for the decision to bid or host a major event.

2. The long term impact of events must be underpinned by demarcated funding, accountability and governance.

3. Greater attention must be paid to who benefits from events and who is left out.

4. More events should be designed and curated with a broad range of stakeholders to build common ground across divides.

5. Events that use volunteers should have a clear strategy to boost longer term community volunteering.

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