Get-set-go at Glasgow's Kelvinhall!
Central and West Integration Network (CWIN) was supported by Scottish Community Development Centre to engage BME communities in around their hopes and aspirations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Central and West Integration Network is a local independent community organisation that seeks to promote the integration of a diverse range of BME communities into the economic, social and cultural life of Glasgow. The Network supports BME communities to come together through, art, social, cultural and educational groups and projects, and offers people a chance to learn new skills, meet new people, share experiences and take part in worthwhile activities to improve their communities. Currently, the network has 26 member organisations – local community groups who regularly come together to exchange information about the opportunities on offer to local people. Through the Commonwealth Games Legacy for Communities Programme, the network has been working with SCDC to engage BME communities in central and west Glasgow to discuss what their hopes and aspirations are for the biggest national sporting event to take place in Scotland’s history.
Watch the following short video of the event!
Growth and Development
From the outset of the programme it was clear that network members wanted the focus of their engagement to be family orientated. That is, in order to fully engage in a dialogue with adults about a Games legacy, we needed to involve their children! It was also clear that the engagement should be a fun experience, and one that not only created a space for people to talk about their hopes and aspirations for the Games, but that also raised awareness of the Games and of local opportunities to get involved in physical, social and cultural activities. So it was decided to hold a family ‘Games’ event, targeting up to 100 men, women and children from the local area.
In order to maximise limited resources, the network negotiated the involvement of Glasgow LIFE as a key partner in the planning and delivery of the event. The Kelvin Hall was identified as a central venue for those living locally and this was provided free of charge by Glasgow LIFE. Through a series of planning meetings, the network agreed it should be a multi-purpose event that aims to:
- Raise awareness of the Games and what they involve, and encourage community members to get involved in them
- Listen to peoples’ views on what the Games mean for their community and what a legacy may look like
- Improve peoples’ awareness of existing facilities and premises that offer sports and health activities/opportunities in the West
- Provide a ‘taste’ of what taking part in the games might be like
- Raise awareness of the range of volunteering opportunities available to people (interpreters, specialist roles)
From this a programme was devised that would comprise a presentation from the 2014 Organising Committee, discussion groups, sports and physical taster sessions, health checks, information stalls and group demonstrations. The network also provided a light lunch to keep people’s energy levels up for the taster sessions! Glasgow LIFE staff were on hand to help everyone participate in a variety of sports, including the long jump, hurdles, sprints, exercise bikes and badminton. There were also demonstrations on cricket, karate and Chinese dancing from local groups. The Network was successful in attracting over 100 people to participate in the event and feedback from participants, staff and volunteers indicated the event was an overwhelming success. The dialogue from the ten discussion groups was captured and recorded for use in the planning stage of the programme.
The event was well attended with a real 'buzz', and generated the following observations:
- All participants were positive about the Games coming to Glasgow and see it as an opportunity to show people from different countries just what a friendly, welcoming city Glasgow is. It should also ‘be a platform to create community spirit and allow diverse communities to work together….and encourage people in the community to participate more in sports in the future’.
- When asked about what difference the Games might make to them individually and as a family and community, people thought the Games will “raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of fitness.” In particular, “we should encourage more family members and communities to take part in local sport, gyms, and the day centres or other community places, and promote physical activity, healthy eating and regular exercise.”
- People want be active ambassadors of the city – “we will get involved in volunteering, welcoming people coming to Glasgow from other commonwealth countries and around the globe, introduce them to Glasgow’s culture, its traditions and values and its multi-culturalism.”
- People from all communities and all age groups should be involved, barriers like prohibitive costs should be removed via concessionary schemes. These should not just target children, but also pensioners so that the CWG audience is reflective of our communities.
The Network will use the information and suggestions made by people at the event to create a legacy plan for the Games. SCDC will help network members to create the plan by using the LEAP on-line tool which will be used to monitor and review the plan’s implementation in the run up to the Games. Furthermore, it is expected that the feedback gathered through the engagement will provide evidence of community need that will assist the network's member organisations to apply for funding for a range of local community activities.
Lessons and Learning
Recommendations from the event were:
- Raise awareness of the Games among BME communities - not just through obvious means like advertising billboards but especially through word of mouth at a local level – all the participants indicated they will be telling their family and friends about the event and about the Games, more of this is needed, not only in Glasgow but also in other Scottish communities. Further, more thought should be given to including BME communities not in the commonwealth, for example making sure we think about how the Chinese community is included in local opportunities and Games related activity.
- In particular, raise awareness of volunteering opportunities – most participants want to get involved in any way they can, whether this is as formal volunteers or informally through ‘spreading the word’ and encouraging involvement in games related community activity.
- Increase participation in sports and physical activity – some participants appreciated the chance to ‘sample’ activities at a local accessible venue, more events comprising taster sessions or that provide access to sporting equipment should be organised. Also, consideration should be given to organising local sports events and opportunities that people are interested in but that don’t feature in the Games. For example, a kabaddi event could be held as the majority of Asian communities in Glasgow are from the Punjab. Another popular sport is freestyle wrestling – these sports are not very well developed in Glasgow so there could be more investment to develop these sports locally.
- Celebrate the cultural diversity of Glasgow - participants were especially keen to use the Games as a means of promoting the chance to meet people from different cultures, and not just the chance to watch elite sportsmen and women compete – the Games should as inclusive as possible and should be something that people can actively get involved in. Also, there may be specialist roles that network members can play for example as interpreters or in linking people who live here with those visiting from commonwealth countries.
- The Games should be affordable for local people to get involved – participants expressed concerns that people might be ‘put off’ the Games if they are too expensive. Suggestions to organise concessionary tickets for low income families would ensure that the audience reflects diverse communities and people from all walks of life, not just those that can afford tickets or become volunteers. There may be a role for the network in seeking funds to allow people to volunteer by covering expenses and associated costs.
For further information on the Central and West Integration Network please contact Florence Dioka
As part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Programme, the Scottish Government commissioned SCDC to work with community organisations across Scotland to support them to use the Games as a catalyst for building on their work to develop activities and projects that involve local people, increase local community action and support the achievement of better health and social outcomes.
For more case studies on knowing your community click here.