Approach to brief

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired a whole generation of young people across the UK to live the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect and the Paralympic Values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality, within their own homes, schools and communities.

Get Set to Make a Change was created to continue this legacy and to inspire young people aged 14-19, through the Values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, to make a positive change to their communities.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund through their Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign, our Get Set to Make a Change programme, created for the British Olympic Foundation, empowered young people – Legacy Leaders – to pledge and then deliver projects and events to bring their community together and make it a healthier, more active place to live.

Working with delivery partners, including the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the youth sport trust, over 8000 Legacy Leaders have taken part in Get Set to Make a Change since the autumn of 2013.

We were asked to create a series of nine Celebration events to take place across the UK between 30th October and 26th November 2014. We wanted the events to celebrate and showcase the fantastic work which Legacy Leaders had done since Get Set to Make a Change began in October 2013!

We wanted to create a red carpet feeling for the young people – an exceptional event that they would feel them feel special simply by attending. We wanted to deliver glitz and glamour within an inspirational evening. We devised a programme that included presentations from Olympic and Paralympic athletes, top notch food, prizes and a chance for Legacy Leaders to connect with others in their region and showcase the amazing – volunteering projects that the teams had completed. Once the content for the events had been agreed, we worked with a sports event specialist, Henson Franklyn, to create a unique space which would provide the young people with an opportunity to network and learn from each other.

Creative solution

Placing an accessible stage and TV wall at the core of our design, we set the space in a cabaret formation, using specially designed and dressed tables.

On arrival, delegates walked through a specially created corridor of images. These images were selected to showcase both the inspirational work of TeamGB and Paralympics GB, and the amazing work carried out by the Legacy Leaders themselves. This helped make them feel like an integral feel part of the design and project from the moment they walked into the space. At each event, we employed a selection of TV screens to showcase images and videos from local volunteering projects and events. This was mirrored in the opening presentation that was unique to each event.

Once in the space, delegates were treated as honoured guests; they were shown to their team’s table and introduced to their facilitator for the evening. The tables included branded notebooks and pens and discussion resources designed specifically for the event,

In each venue, dinner was served at the start of the evening. This allowed delegates to eat, mingle and ease into the event. Whilst eating, delegates were invited to take part in engaging activities including leaving their thoughts and comments on the graffiti wall.

The opening of the ceremony was a high octane light and sound show that transitioned into the bespoke opening video, allowing some of the students to see themselves on the big screen.

This was followed by presentations from selected local schools, Question and Answer sessions with the athletes and facilitator-led discussions. No two events had the same schedule. This flexibility accommodated any variations in the content and unexpected guest appearances.

We worked with the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association to bring inspirational figures from the world of sport to the events.

Impact and Effectiveness

Approximately 1,500 young Legacy Leaders attended nine events in London, Glasgow, Norwich, Loughborough, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Exeter, Canterbury and Leeds.

A post-event evaluation comprising online surveys, telephone interviews and face-to-face discussion groups found that:

• The celebration events were considered a very well-earned treat and appropriate recognition for the Legacy Leaders’ successful volunteering projects

• The glitz and glamour of the celebration events was the first time many of the Legacy Leaders had got ‘dressed up’, making them an extraordinary experience, especially with the athletes in attendance as well

• As with the roadshows, the celebration events demonstrated that each individual team was part of a much wider, dynamic ‘network’ and offered the young people an exciting opportunity to instigate and develop new relationships with other schools in the region.