Commonwealth Games were ‘worth it’ say East End residents

Published: 23 June 2015

Findings from a study of the impacts of the Commonwealth Games on the East End of Glasgow are published today.

Findings from a study of the impacts of the Commonwealth Games on the East End of Glasgow are published today (Tuesday 23 June) by researchers. They show that the vast majority of people living near the Games venues in the East End continue to be supportive of the fact that Glasgow hosted the Games, and that most of those who experienced inconvenience at the time of the event thought it was worth it. 

A large number of people in the study, seven out of ten respondents, were inconvenienced by the Games in one way or another, due to traffic and security arrangements and as a result of the large numbers of people in the area. Very few people, however, (7.5%) were inconvenienced by antisocial behaviour, suggesting that those attending the Games were for the most part well-behaved. 

Given the pre-Games debates about the problems caused for local residents, it is interesting that afterwards, the vast majority of those affected thought that the inconveniences they experienced were worth it for the enjoyment or benefits brought by the Games.

The results also show that the regeneration activity in the area, some of which was allied to the Games, is producing positive changes that are noticed by residents, including increased feelings of safety at night and reductions in problems of vacant and derelict land.  

However, progress on other indicators of the attractiveness of the area is slow, and to bring the area up to national average standards on many indicators of environmental quality requires sustained regeneration efforts.

The direct impact of the Commonwealth Games, for example on participation in sport and physical activity, is positive but modest in size thus far, with 8% of the respondents in the study saying that they were doing more sport, or in a new sport as a result of being inspired by the Games.

Professor Ade Kearns, Principal Investigator on the study, said: “In general, our findings indicate that the Commonwealth Games were a positive experience for many of the people we interviewed in the East End of Glasgow. More importantly, however, the regeneration process is producing improvements, some faster and some slower than others, that offer the prospect of future gains to quality of life and health and wellbeing in the area. 

“It is important that these regeneration efforts are continued, and supported by well-resourced management and maintenance efforts, as well as by social programmes that support people to become more physically active and to interact with others where social change is occurring in the communities.”

Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Hosting the Commonwealth Games and influx of athletes, officials and visitors from around the world was a huge undertaking for the city and I’m pleased that the majority of survey respondents felt it was worth it and indeed are still enjoying the benefits of the regeneration activity and community engagement through a number of organisations, including the council and Glasgow Life. We are fully aware that social change on this scale happens over a prolonged period and with continuous effort. We will strive to keep the momentum going through partnerships with other agencies, legacy projects and council-led initiatives such as East End specific projects under the recently announced £1.13bn City Deal for Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.”

The report was also welcomed by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, who said: “There can be no doubt that the Games have been a strong catalyst for regeneration in the East End of Glasgow, with anticipated lasting benefits to the communities living there. The results of the GoWell East study indicate the Games were a largely positive experience for the residents of the East End. It’s now up to all of us to continue working hard to ensure the legacy of the Games is lasting and positive.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “We welcome the findings of this study as it supports the view that the Games were a positive experience for people in the East End of Glasgow, and they now have world-class sporting venues, such as the Glasgow Hockey Centre, Tollcross Swimming Centre, and the Emirates Arena and Velodrome, that are being used by many in the local community.”

Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Chair of Clyde Gateway said: “I’m delighted that the findings of this study confirm the very encouraging response there has been locally to Clyde Gateway’s regeneration efforts. The physical, social and economic transformation so far has been remarkable but there is still much more to do, given we are just seven years into what is a 20-year programme of planned work. The continued support of the Government and our partners will ensure that the Legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be every bit as world-class as the event was itself.”



This is a selection of the key findings in the report, comparing what the cohort members said in 2014 compared with 2012 in respect of indicators relevant to Scottish Government legacy objectives.


Sport and physical activity:

  • There was a notable increase, by 14 percentage points, in the positive rating of the quality of local sports facilities by respondents over time.
  • Lower levels of sports participation and physical activity were reported overall in the cohort compared with 2012 (by 9 and 11 percentage points, respectively), possibly due to seasonal differences in the timing of the two surveys (wave 1 in summer 2012; wave 2 in winter 2014).
  • Eight percent of the cohort reported doing a new or more sport as a result of being inspired by the Games. Twelve percent were thinking about doing a new or more sport as a result of the Games.


Employment and training:

  • One-in-twenty cohort households experienced employment resulting from the regeneration activity in the area over the 2013-14 period.
  • In addition, one-in-ten respondents reported employment gains (either additional employment or extra working hours) for someone in the household during the Games time in 2014.


Neighbourhood quality:

  • Nearly three-in-five respondents (59%) said that their neighbourhood had got better as a place to live in over the past two to three years, more than the 50% who said so in 2012. This is much higher than the national rate for identifying positive neighbourhood change for those living in deprived areas, currently at 24%.
  • Feelings of safety walking around the neighbourhood increased by 9 percentage points over time to 64% in 2014. This is slightly below the rate for all deprived areas in Scotland (70%), but far below the national rate for all neighbourhoods (84%).


Participation in the Commonwealth Games

  • Attendance at ticketed sports events at the Games was lower, at 23% of the cohort, than intended by respondents two years before the Games (43%).
  • Attendance at cultural events at Games time was at the level anticipated by respondents before the Games, at 26%.
  • Seven out of ten respondents (72%) said they were inconvenienced in one or more ways by the Games. Traffic congestion (48%) and security cordons (37%) were problematic for far more people than issues of crowds/noise (22%) or antisocial behaviour (7.5%).
  • Three-quarters (77%) of those who were inconvenienced by the Games thought that the inconvenience was worth it for the benefits or enjoyment the Games brought.

Media Enquiries

Liz Buie, Communications Office, University of  Glasgow, 0141 330 2702 / 07527 335373

Notes to Editors



The full report is published today, entitled GoWell East: Studying Change in Glasgow’s East End. Headline Indicators Report for Wave 2(2015) in comparison with Wave 1 (2012), and is available to download at:



GoWell stands for the Glasgow Community Health and Wellbeing Research and Learning Programme and is a long-term study of the health and wellbeing impacts of regeneration activities and housing improvement works across deprived communities in Glasgow. GoWell is a partnership between the University of Glasgow, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow.

GoWell East is an extension of the GoWell Programme, begun in 2012 to study the impacts of regeneration and the Commonwealth Games upon communities in the East End of the city. GoWell East is sponsored by the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland and sportscotland.

The findings reported here are the product of interviews conducted with 414 adult respondents in the East End who were first interviewed as part of a larger sample of 1,015 adults in mid-2012, and then re-interviewed a few months after the Commonwealth Games between October 2014 and February 2015.

First published: 23 June 2015

<< June