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Birmingham ready for Commonwealth Games kick-off

We've invested £35 million to help create a lasting impact from the biggest multi-sport event in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

28th July 2022

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games kick off with what’s sure to be a spectacular opening ceremony this evening.

A decade and a day on from the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, England will again play host to a festival of sport with athletes coming from all corners of the globe to show off their talents in world-leading facilities and in front of sell-out crowds.

Since December 2017 when Birmingham was announced as the host city, we’ve been working to ensure those facilities, and Games as a whole, have a lasting impact on both the West Midlands and the wider population.

We’ve invested £35 million of National Lottery and government funding into the Games, on everything from ensuring key venues such as the Sandwell Aquatics Centre are not just fit for the Games but also long afterwards as a community facility, to providing support for the School Games and the Daily Mile to spread the impact of the Games to children and young people across the country.

One of our major focusses will be supporting community groups to help local people get involved with sport and physical activity, and our B2022 Places and Spaces Fund – backed by National Lottery Funding – is still open for applications.

We’re working with partners within communities because they are best placed to know what local people need and how to break some of the barriers that people face. That will help us in our mission to tackle inequalities, create more active communities and level up access to physical activity.

The video below gives a flavour of some of the projects that are already benefitting from our funding including the Balsall Heath-based Saheli Hub, that provides women-only exercise opportunities, and Tyseley’s Impact Fitness Hub that engages disadvantaged children, young people, women and families with activities such as judo, wrestling and boxing.



We’ve learnt from London 2012 that major events are a brilliant platform to build from, but hosting the event alone isn’t enough to create population-level behaviour change, and that’s why we are taking a targeted approach to our work to create a lasting impact from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

 “Creating a lasting impact from major sporting events comes from working hard to create the right opportunities and conditions for it to happen” said our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth in a recent piece for the Mail on Sunday.

“It requires time, patience, and a deep understanding of the barriers an individual or community might face.

“Simply put, it requires more than building wonderful facilities or watching incredible athletes and assuming people will start being active on the back of that.

“Above all else, it requires we as sport bodies breaking down the barriers we know to exist, particularly when those very barriers are especially high for groups such as disabled people, those from diverse communities, and those from areas of deprivation.”

Our investment into facilities totals £14.465m and is helping to ensure that venues such as the aquatics centre and Cannock Chase Forest still serve the community, long after the Birmingham 2022 hoardings have come down.

Of that total, £7m has also gone to our Places and Spaces fund, which has awarded grants of up to £10,000 to places such as Impact Fitness Academy, to create or improve community facilities offering activity opportunities, across the country.

"It requires more than building wonderful facilities or watching incredible athletes and assuming people will start being active on the back of that."

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief executive, Sport England

Adding to the local impact is £4.3m that’s been targeted towards the West Midlands itself, with £3.1m going to the Commonwealth Active Communities programme, and £600,000 being split between six Active Partnerships to award small grants to community groups.

The local impact is also strengthened by £250,000 to support volunteering opportunities for young people at the Games and beyond, and a £300,000 boost to the Beat the Street programme to expand in targeted areas of the West Midlands in the build up to today’s opening ceremony.

There’s also been a separate £4.5m put into projects specifically aimed at helping children and young people engage with the Games in ways they may not have previously.

This has taken the form of investment in the School Games to see them reach new audiences and a further £100,000 for The Daily Mile to help them to grow their programme manager plan for another two years, enabling more children to participate in an active mile at their school.

We’ve also invested £6.5m into supporting 21 national governing bodies to develop innovative, non-traditional ideas to drive participation in their activity – and the NGBs have been assisted in doing this thanks to an Innovation and Digital Accelerator developed by CAST.

And we’ve funded NGBs with £5.26m that has helped them prepare both athletes and staff for the Games and allowed them to give potential stars of the future a first taste of a big multi-sport event through the Team England Futures programme.

We wish athletes and staff from all nations and territories the best of luck over the coming 11 days of competition, after which we’ll continue to work to ensure the Games leave a lasting impact on the West Midlands and nation as a whole.

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