Volunteering and Heritage Trail feature in new funding commitment for Commonwealth Games

District council cabinet members are looking to allocate £50,000 towards the Commonwealth Games’ mountain biking event, taking place at Cannock Chase Forest next summer.

Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Leisure, by one of the current Cannock Chase Heritage Trail information boards at High Green in Cannock town centre.
Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Leisure, by one of the current Cannock Chase Heritage Trail information boards at High Green in Cannock town centre.

The funding plan follows the allocation of £50,000 last year towards the new blue graded mountain bike trail currently under construction by Forestry England at Birches Valley that will form part of the Games’ course.

The funding was made available in September 2020.

A cabinet meeting will hear on Thursday, that the bulk of the funding, £40,000, would be allocated to upgrade the interpretation and waymarking for the Cannock Chase Heritage Trail, an existing 10-mile trail for cyclists and walkers that links together the District’s three main towns of Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley and takes in Brindley Heath and Birches Valley as it meanders through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A section of the trail will be used as the official walking route, from Rugeley Town rail station to the Games site at Birches Valley.

Around £8,000 will go on creating local volunteering opportunitiesin addition to the 13,000 volunteers currently being recruited as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Collective volunteering programme.

The remaining £2,000 would be allocated towards hosting roadshows in the district designed to explain what the Commonwealth Games will bring to host venues in terms of jobs, skills, volunteering, and business opportunities.

The council’s portfolio holder for heritage and leisure, Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald said: “While the mountain biking event will be staged for one day only, we recognise that being a host district during the Games will present significant legacy opportunities that can last for years beyond the event in August 2022.

“The report to Cabinet emphasises what these opportunities are, including how we can use volunteering to help residents who are unemployed get valuable work experience or enable our young people to develop their skills.

“The Heritage Trail is a great way for people to explore our District and appreciate its history and keep healthy at the same time. It takes in many local attractions including going past the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet and the Museum of Cannock Chase. However, it now requires new improved signing if it is going to be fully appreciated and used.

“I am hopeful my fellow Cabinet members will back the new funding proposals later this week.”

The Cabinet report also updates councillors on developments that have been taking place to stage a successful Games event including transport and traffic management, and a Bike and Play Project being managed by Forestry England to attract new cyclists to Cannock Chase.

To read the full Cabinet report being discussed on 10 June go to https://bit.ly/3wUAznq

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