Councillor fears Commonwealth Games will only benefit certain people
A councillor who fears that the Commonwealth Games "will only benefit certain people" has called for greater engagement with "hard to reach" communities across the West Midlands.
Speaking during the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Transport Delivery Committee today, Wolverhampton councillor Celia Hibbert said that she was "pessimistic" about the legacy of the games.
Councillors were discussing the WMCA’s Commonwealth Games transport plan, which will be taken across the West Midlands to canvas the views of local residents over the next 12 weeks.
And while she admitted that she was pleased to see the views of local communities were being consulted, Councillor Hibbert added that the "road show" needed to ensure that it reached out to all communities, not just a select few.
“I like the sound of the road show, because it brings the games into focus for the wider public,” she said.
“I’ve been banging on about this for ages, because at the moment I’m pessimistic about the legacy, because it looks like the legacy the Commonwealth Games will leave behind is only going to benefit certain people, while other people will simply be spectators.
“And that’s one of my concerns, that they will continue to be spectators after the games.
“So I like the idea of the road show, but I would suggest with the roadshow that we plan some routes into those hard-to-reach communities to drum up interest in every single community. My community actually do not know much about the Commonwealth Games, and they should know about it, because they’re from our community.
“The Commonwealth Games is a hot topic in the West Midlands, but for some reason certain communities are disconnected from what’s going on. And I’m afraid that the legacy it’s going to leave will not touch these communities. That’s why I feel that part of the planning should specifically focus on these kinds of communities.”
And hers was a point supported by Councillor Keith Linnecor, who said that even in his Birmingham ward of Oscott people were unaware of many aspects of what the games will entail.
“I’d like to echo what my colleague had been saying, but to take it wider and say that to be honest, there’s a disconnect throughout the whole community,” he said.
“Certainly in my area there isn’t really any great knowledge of the Commonwealth Games, and we’re just down the road from it.”