From moment to movement: Final report on community events

This report presents findings from the ‘Moment to Movement’ research project, which, inspired by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, focused on how community events can best spark long-term change for the better. And hence, how ‘moments’ (community events), can lead to ‘movements’ (long-term social action), and the factors enabling or hindering this change. This resource can, therefore, help in the creation and delivery of effective community events.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This report presents findings from the ‘Moment to Movement’ research project conducted by inFocus, which, inspired by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, focused on how community events can best spark long-term change for the better. A key question being asked in the research was: What are the different ways that community events (the 'moment’) can generate longer-term impact ('the movement’), and what factors could affect this impact (both barriers and facilitators) (p.3). The research defined a 'moment’ as “an event taking place over one to two days with a focus on involving the local community” and generating positive community change; and a ‘movement’ as when “people attending the event are involved in taking ongoing action afterwards that is associated directly with the same goals and values of the original event” (p.7).

To understand this better, the research team conducted a secondary literature review around the impact of events; three workshops; interviews and focus groups with 53 event organisers and attendees; and three field visits in Northern Ireland and Yorkshire.

Project findings include example participant quotes and case study examples, and are structured in three parts: the first presents the ‘ideal’ type of event, generating a moment to movement process. This is whereby an event engages a wide range of people, creating a sense of community, which then generates a ‘spark’, where the people enjoying the event want the experience to continue in some way, and finally, ongoing action is taken as people have a shared sense of purpose for the community impacts to endure.

Second, several barriers to this being achieved are outlined, including: losing momentum; leadership vacuum; competing priorities; lack of support or resources; confidence to take the first step; and unrealistic expectations.

And, third, the report offers seven key step to take ‘moments to movements’, including: setting the right goal; designing purposeful events; involving the community; finding the right team; getting the messaging right; running a fantastic event; and making time for a debrief.

The research team plans to develop learning materials to help event organisers with practically applying these steps.