Using major events to increase social connections : the case of the Glasgow 2014 Host City Volunteer programme

Rogerson, Robert J. and Nicholson, Rafaelle and Reid, Fiona and Sly, Bridget (2019) Using major events to increase social connections : the case of the Glasgow 2014 Host City Volunteer programme. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events. ISSN 1940-7971 (

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Despite suggestions of the potential opportunity of using major events to generate wider social connections, most emphasis in event management research continues to be placed on future volunteering as a legacy from event volunteering. This paper examines the impact of a dedicated Host City event volunteer programme associated with the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow which sought to use this major sporting event to enhance social connectivity amongst the volunteers. This initiative, designed in response to the perceived failure of legacies arising from recruitment to the main event volunteer programme, sought to leverage social outcomes beyond that of volunteering. Although the quantitative and qualitative evidence gathered at the event time and three years later indicates that the programme failed to realise all its social ambitions, it nevertheless offers valuable insights into policy and practice around how event management can and needs to adapt to help delivery legacies, and to use emerging opportunities to leverage other benefits. This study points to the need for more attention to be given to examine how unanticipated circumstances ahead of events can alter legacy planning and create opportunities for social leveraging.