Press Release

15 March 2011

Canterbury Christ Church University, in partnership with the Department of Health, has launched a new resource designed to maximise the opportunity that the London 2012 Games present for establishing a lasting legacy of healthy, active people.

 ‘Active Celebration’ is an evidence-based step-by-step guide for sports organisers and health promoters on how to use the London 2012 Games as a catalyst for getting more people, more active, more often.

Professor Mike Weed, who led the research behind ‘Active Celebration’ on behalf of the University’s Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR), said: “Our work analysed evidence from the leading research across the globe on the legacies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the impacts of major sports events and sports franchises, to examine the potential for direct legacy impact for health.

“It revealed that London 2012 presents a very real opportunity to inspire change and boost local, regional and national participation in physical activity. Our development of this research into an evidence-based, user-friendly guide for those promoting healthy lifestyles will help ensure that this valuable and important opportunity to encourage people to become more active will not be missed.”

The guide looks at the different reasons people typically take part in community sport events and physical activity programmes, whether to celebrate, volunteer or simply to socialize, and outlines how this information can be used to boost participation. It is hoped Active Celebration will become an essential resource to help local providers and event organisers capitalise on the festival spirit that comes with the Olympic and Paralympic Games to develop happier, healthier communities.

Such is the resource’s potential impact on the UK’s health and wellbeing that Active Celebration has been formally granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme.

It is a resource that is needed. Despite research showing it takes just 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (that is just 30 minutes on 5 days of the week) to stay healthy, 70% of the adult population do less than that and many do nothing at all.

Pam Naylor, Healthy Weight Programme Manager for the Department of Health South East, said: “Getting more people taking part in sport and all forms of physical activity is a Government priority. Active Celebration is a key resource to help make that goal a reality and to create a lasting legacy of healthier, more active communities. London 2012 presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to change public health in this country. This guide will help make sure it’s not an opportunity missed.”

“We would like every commissioner and organiser of physical activity to pick up Active Celebration and use it as a checklist for what should be done. Mostly, a few tweaks will turn a great idea into an evidence-based one. Active Celebration shows you how.”

The guide contains case studies which illustrate how London 2012 is already being utilised effectively to boost positive activity. One organisation highlighted is national youth sport development charity StreetGames.

StreetGames also holds the Inspire Mark for its Legacy Leaders programme which helps coaches, volunteers and existing participants use the festival sprit and inspirational power of The Games to encourage more young people from disadvantaged communities to take part in sport. Over 1million attendances have already been generated by the charity.

It is believed Active Celebration can help inspire lasting improvements to health and wellbeing in a similar way across the UK.

Paul Jarvis from Wellbeing South East who commissioned the work said: “This work will help us to secure a true and lasting health and physical activity legacy from the London 2012 Games. It takes the best available international evidence and sets out exactly what we need to do. For one thing, we can get more people doing sport. But even better than that, by making changes to the environment and providing the right incentives, we can get everyone more active and staying that way.”

‘Active Celebration’, and the underpinning research, is available for download from


Notes to Editor

Key findings and recommendations made in the ‘Active Celebration’ resource pack are:

  1. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has the potential to play a key role in increasing participation and improving health; the key is to take wider initiatives and strategies for increasing activity and match them to the aspirations and values of the London 2012 Games.
  2.  For current or lapsed sports participants, plans need to capitalise on the ‘demonstration effect’ (athletes acting as role models to inspire increased sport participation) and boost the local range and availability of new sports activities, particularly the less traditional ones.
  3. For non sports participants and people who are put off taking part, informal physical activity participation in the community can be encouraged by capitalising on the ‘festival effect’  i.e. people get involved in local, celebratory events because they want to be a part of it bit don’t necessarily want to participate in formal sports.
  4. The key is to match the values that people hold in relation to their families, their friends, the environment and society at large, with the values upheld by the Olympic & Paralympic movements and London 2012 itself.
  • The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.

  • As a leading provider of teaching and health care courses we have produced nearly 3,500 health and social care professionals and 7,000 teachers in the last five years.
  • Over 90 per cent of our graduates gain employment or are in further study in the first six months after graduating.
  • Along with over a thousand undergraduate, postgraduate and professional training courses on offer, we are also home to world-leading and internationally recognised research in Education, History, Music and Sports Related Studies.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 by the Church of England as a teacher training college.

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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:14:00