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Case Studies

Active Celebration - using the London 2012 Games to Get the Nation Moving

Published by Paul Jarvis
Physical Activity Development Manager
Department of Health South East
Telephone 07889 046106

Active Celebration is a groundbreaking, evidence-based set of case studies and strategies providing the blueprint for levering a physical activity and health legacy from the London 2012 Games. See also Active Celebration 'Demonstration Effect Initiatives' and 'Festival Effect Initiatives'

Active Celebration - using the London 2012 Games to Get the Nation Moving

Our delivery partners are...

Department of Health

Canterbury Christ Church University

We have funding and support from...

County Sports Partnerships


The project is located in...


The start and finish dates of the project are...

It started in July 2010 and will continue right up until the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.  Individual projects will continue into the future

Image 3The people helped are...

For commissioners, it offers an evidence-based guide to which schemes are likely to work in which settings, and what outcomes to expect.  It can be used to ‘quality assure' legacy project proposals.

For coordinators, it provides a detailed picture of the possibilities for legacy work so you can see which ones match most closely with your local priorities.  It can be used to identify the gaps in existing provision.

For delivery partners, it's a practical ‘how to' guide covering design and implementation, with a host of useful contacts.  It can be used to raise participation in sport and active lifestyles, inspired by the London 2012 Games.

What they have said is...

"The Inspire Programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like Active Celebration are enabling people across the UK to make positive life changes."

Sebastian Coe (Chair), The London Organising Committee
of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)‘‘ ‘

We set up the project because...

There is a lot of opinion about the potential of the London 2012 Games to inspire more people to get active.  Some of that opinion is positive, some is negative.  Active Celebration cuts through the opinion and provides the evidence for what can be done.

The difference this project makes is...

More people will become physically active in a way that suits them, and wil stay active.

What we did or are doing

In 2008, we commissioned the Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research team (SPEAR), led by Professor Mike Weed, at Canterbury Christ Church University to conduct research into the evidence base for a physical activity and health legacy from the Olympic & Paralympic Games.  The report highlighted possiblities for two distinct groups: firstly the 'Demonstration Effect' could be used ot engage those people who are already playing sport or feel positive about sport, and get them to do more; secondly, the 'Festival Effect' could be used to engage people who are inactive and have negative feelings towards sport and formal physical activities.  Active Celebration is the practical guide to how to make it happen and includes thirteen evidence-based approaches, all of which are already in use somewhere in the country.

We chose this method because...

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the nation moving. The International Olympic Committee president described our plans to get people active as ‘part of the distinctive magic’ of the London bid.

With no previous Games having formally attempted a physical activity legacy, and with no Games having been evaluated for a legacy of this sort, it was clear that we needed to initiate some primary research.

What's happened is...

Having launched the Active Celebration resource in July 2010, we have run workshops all around the country.  At the workshops, organsiers and promoteers of physical activity, including sport, can learn how to use Active Celebration to create legacy projects in their area.  Active Celebration contains thirteen different, recommended initiatives so there is something for most audiences and settings.  Many of those projects are now underway and we will be collecting details of thier progress in the coming months.

What we'd do differently...

With a little more money, we could have increased the number and variety of example initiatives.  Thirteen is a good number, but we could always use more to increase the range of audences and settings.  We would also work more closely with the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) for Sport at the planning stage.


Our learning and measures of success will be both quantative and qualitative.  They will focus on:

1.     The number of local initiatives influenced by the content of Active Celebration

2.     New and sustained participation in local initiatives influenced by Active Celebration

3.     The settings and populations for which it has worked

4.     The settings and populations for which it hasn't worked

5.     The strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development, as perceived by our network members

6.     The changing environment as we approach the London 2012 Games, and go beyond, and how we need to adapt ‘Active Celebration' in response

This project helped to deliver...

The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Action Plan

Get Active South East Strategy 2008-12

Local Physical Activity Strategies

The project is now...


Additional information or comments?

Full details of Active Celebration, including the original research, the Introductory Guidance and all nine Feetival Effect initiatives and all four Demonstration Effect initiatives can be downloaded here:




Print this page
Lead Organisation Department of Health South East
Geographical Area National
Outcomes Capacity building, Community cohesion, Developing talent, Improving health, Increasing participation
Beneficiary Age Adults, Antenatal, Children (5-15), Early Years (0-4), Older People (Over 60), Young People (16-25)
Beneficiary Groups General population
Type of activity  
Primary Theme Physical Activity
Secondary Themes  



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