Funding set to help honour Games legacy pledge
The ongoing legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been honoured by the funding of projects to serve underserved and overlooked communities.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Games in Birmingham, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has approved funding for 13 projects as part of £70 million UK Government funding to ensure the Games’ positive and long-lasting legacy is felt across the entire region.
The effective organisation and delivery of the Games last summer meant the event came in under budget.
Following discussions with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and the WMCA, the UK Government decided to invest the remaining £70 million into the region to enhance the legacy and ensure the benefits continue their positive impact for many years to come.
Among the first to benefit are the five hugely successful Games Legacy Trailblazer projects, run by United by 2022, the Official Games Legacy Charity.
Thanks to £5 million from the fund, they will continue to engage with people from underserved and overlooked communities across the West Midlands for a further two years, widening the impact they had in the build up to last year’s Games to ensure as many people as possible were part of the 10-day spectacle.
They are Critical Mass, an inclusive dance and movement programme; Gen22, a youth social action programme, aimed at empowering young people aged 16-24 to make real change in their own communities and Bring the Power, which promotes more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to get more women and girls participating in Games-linked physical activity.
The other projects are Social Value, a private and third sector partnership to financially support grassroots organisations; and Volunteers’ Collective, a region-wide website to promote volunteering opportunities.
There is also a £10.5 million Community Fund programme for locally led projects that bring people together and promote health and wellbeing; and a £1.2 million Environment Fund programme, building on the WMCA’s Community Green Grants scheme which has supported communities with grants to open up access to more green space for 200,000 residents and planted over 2,000 trees.
Other projects allocated money from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund include £5.75 million for a jobs and skills programme, £2 million to drive the region's social economy and £4.1 million to support the recovery of the region's cultural, heritage and creative sector.
Andy Street said: “It was always our intention that, beyond the summer of sporting spectacle, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games would leave behind a lasting legacy by delivering a meaningful impact on the lives of local people right across our region for months and years to come.
“That’s why I’m delighted to see that vision now bearing fruit.
"As we approach the first anniversary of the Games, we can now see how legacy funding will begin to be deployed across the West Midlands to change lives for the better.
"Whether it’s dance programmes for local youngsters, enabling future mass volunteering efforts, protecting our natural environment, supporting job creation and much more besides, this funding will act as a catalyst for improving the health and wellbeing of our residents and overall quality of life here in the West Midlands.
“Reflecting now on the announcement that the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport made at the October 2022 Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that we would be able to retain more than £70m from the Games budget underspend, I’m very glad that we pressed our case with Government and worked together to agree this funding package.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Last summer Birmingham hosted an unforgettable Commonwealth Games.
“Beyond the medals won, records broken and memories to last a lifetime, we were determined to deliver a fantastic legacy, sporting, cultural and economic, for generations to come.
"At the heart of this plan was inspiring people to get into sport and physical activity, boosting job and volunteering opportunities, and creating a more sustainable region.
“The Government’s decision to commit this £70 million funding to support fantastic projects across the region will ensure the Games’ legacy lives on in the West Midlands, maximising the potential of the local area and creating and supporting more opportunities for people to enjoy sport.”
More projects will be allocated money from the Fund in the coming months.
Enquiries about the Fund should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.