Spirit of 2012 has announced today that it will appoint a group of organisations to serve as its ‘learning partners’, working together to integrate and build on its evidence base during the final phase of its life cycle. The first of these will be Belong – The Cohesion & Integration Network.

Spirit of 2012 – the official legacy funder of the London 2012 Games – was founded by the National Lottery Community Fund in 2013 with a £47 million endowment. Using that money, it has funded projects around the UK to build an evidence base and learn what works to improve wellbeing and social cohesion, a journey documented in their recent 10-year impact report.

With the organisation scheduled to spend out and close in 2026, Spirit sought out a number of partners who strongly aligned with Spirit’s purpose and impact areas with which to share the learning and insights they have gathered over ten years.

These partner organisations will use this evidence alongside their own, create new content and eventually integrate and assume ownership of it once Spirit has closed. From there, it will be over to them to build on and continue the work.

In partnership with Spirit of 2012, the Belong Network will create and disseminate a best practice guide for designing, delivering and evaluating events to positively impact on social connection and cohesion. The resource will be available online and suitable for those using the arts, culture, sport and physical activity and volunteering as a means to celebrate, unite, and sustain communities coming together for a shared purpose. Potential users include those organising an event in their local neighbourhood, or strategic leads developing events at a regional and national level.

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012 said:

It is a pleasure to appoint the Belong Network as our first learning partner as we transition into the final phase of Spirit of 2012’s life cycle. Our impact report shows the marked difference that our funding has made on wellbeing for people and communities. This is an organisation which shares our vision and values, and we look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that our wealth of knowledge can continue to benefit people for years to come.

Mike Waite, Belong Network Interim CEO, said:

We are absolutely delighted to be working with Spirit of 2012 on this project to ensure that they leave a lasting legacy and a resource that can be drawn on for years to come. This resource will support event organisers to foster and support so many new social connections across the UK and build a legacy for communities of shared resilience and trust. Belong already has a broad cross-sectoral network and membership across business, local government and with civil society. We look forward to working with Spirit of 2012 to significantly increase our reach, ensuring that the knowledge and skills for delivering events that build lasting social connections reach the widest audience possible.



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