Friday (21 December) marks one year since Birmingham and the West Midlands region was officially awarded the 2022 Commonwealth Games and organisers are celebrating this landmark by outlining the progress made so far and looking forward to an exciting 2019.
John Crabtree Chairman of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, is happy with how plans for the largest sporting and cultural event ever to be staged in the West Midlands are progressing: “It has been a busy 12 months for the city and the region. Much of the work has been going on behind-the-scenes, as we set up the Organising Committee, but we are delighted with the progress we’ve made so far.
“2019 will see tangible, visible progress as we see the start of construction for the athletes’ village, the development of plans for the brand new aquatics centre and the unveiling of designs for the redeveloped Alexander Stadium. It will be such an important year to engage widely with local and regional communities, to ensure they get the absolute most out of the Games. We’re very much looking forward to sharing more of our ideas and plans with people from across the city, region and the whole Commonwealth in 2019 and beyond.”
Just ahead of reaching the one-year anniversary, the first meeting of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Coordination Commission (CoCom) took place in Birmingham. CoCom provides expert advice and guidance to the Organising Committee and other Games’ partners and the Chair, Chris Jenkins, CGF Executive Board Member and European Regional Vice President, was impressed with progress made in the last 12 months:
“Whilst the partners have a compressed planning timeframe compared to previous hosts, there has been solid progress but much to be achieved by all Games Partners in 2019 to keep up the momentum and ensure an inspiring and successful Games. What is already clear is the local pride and passion for sport – and it’s an exciting prospect to see how organisers will make the most of this over the next three years, ensuring as many people as possible benefit from and contribute to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
One of the key behind-the-scenes developments in 2018 has been the establishment of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee with Interim Chief Executive, Ian Reid, appointed in the spring and Chairman, John Crabtree, taking up his role in the summer. Three Non-Executive Directors have also joined the board and new recruits are currently taking up roles with the Organising Committee every month.
Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society said: “It’s great to see the progress that has been made over the past 12 months in delivering the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. In particular, the government investment in the Commonwealth Games Village and the Alexander Stadium announced this year will help to deliver a tremendous legacy for the people of Birmingham.
“Along with our Games Partners, we look forward to continuing to work together over the next three and a half years to deliver a Games that has a fantastic impact on Birmingham, the West Midlands and the whole of the UK.”
A major highlight in 2018 was April’s spectacular handover ceremony followed by the triumphant homecoming for Team England later that month. The athletes are now looking forward to competing on home soil in 2022, as Commonwealth Games England’s Chief Executive, Paul Blanchard, explains:
“2018 was an incredible year for Team England with sending a team of 390 athletes, the largest ever team to represent the nation in an overseas sporting event, to the Gold Coast in April and returning with 136 medals. Since then, it’s been fantastic to witness Team England athletes excel at events over the year culminating at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards with the Team England v Australia netball final winning the greatest sporting moment, England Netball winning team of the year and Dina Asher-Smith’s nomination.
“Excitement of a home Games is really starting to build as we saw following the unveiling of the venues in October. I’m sure a home Games in Birmingham will be an incredible experience for not only Team England athletes but all of the athletes hoping to compete in 2022. We wish them all the best as they prepare over the next three and a half years.”
One of the key areas for progress this year has been the work done towards creating the village that will house athletes from across the Commonwealth during the Games and then later become a new residential neighbourhood for Perry Barr. Financially supported by the UK government (£165 million) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (£20 million), the village is a council-led scheme and the planning application was approved today (20 December). Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said:
“As the chairman of the bid team that secured the Commonwealth Games for Birmingham, the progress made by everyone concerned over the last 12 months has been a source of great pride.
“From showcasing the city to the rest of the Commonwealth at the Gold Coast 2018 closing ceremony, to the progress we have made on delivering the 2022 Games Village, significant strides have been made – with Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region showing it has what it takes to put on a truly memorable Games in the summer of 2022.”
As 2018 comes to an end, the year has finished on a real high as, just a few weeks ago, a business briefing was held at Birmingham’s ICC, with more than 500 representatives from SME businesses, from across the region, attending.
Local businesses have a real opportunity to benefit from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the event set to provide a real economic boost to the region, as Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, explains: “We know from recent Games that local businesses have won more than 80% of the Organising Committee’s contracts.
“We promoted that message throughout the bid process across the region and we’ll be continuing to work hard to encourage our businesses to take full advantage of having such a major event taking place right on the doorstep.”
12 key moments in 12 months
- Alexander Stadium development – The Prime Minister, Theresa May, visited on 11 April, to confirm £70 million of government funding to help transform this venue, which will see the seating capacity increased to 40,000 seats for the Games. Stakeholders consultation on ideas for the site has been taking place and project managers and designers have now been appointed by Birmingham City Council
- Handover from Gold Coast 2018 – a fabulous celebration at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and back home in Birmingham on 15 April, involving a cast of hundreds of young people in a one-shot, real-time crowd performance, showcasing the best of Birmingham, beamed live across the Commonwealth
- Homecoming –The successful Team England athletes received a hero’s welcome in Birmingham on 21 April and the city celebrated with a giant party and sports taster sessions for young people
- Debrief visit from the Gold Coast team on 18 June, to share their knowledge, advice and experiences as part of the CGF’s transfer of knowledge programme
- Organising Committee – The Chair (announced on 6 July), Non-Executive Directors and Interim Chief Executive have all been appointed. The committee is growing all the time and currently recruiting to three senior roles (finance, marketing and telecommunications)
- Four years to go! (27 July) A visit to the city’s Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre for four-year olds to mark four years to go, with gymnasts from the City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club joining in the celebrations
- The Athletes’ Village – The Birmingham City Council team leading this project has achieved in one year what is normally achieved in three. Designs were revealed and a request for planning permission was submitted on 16 August. Planning approved on 20 December, for a project which is receiving £165 million funding from the government and £20 million funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority
- Transport plans are progressing – plans for the first three ‘Sprint’ routes serving Games venues have been unveiled and a consultation took place (August-October). Plans to redevelop stations at Perry Barr and at the University of Birmingham have also been revealed
- Birmingham 2022 Voices (October) – a community campaign to find out what residents and community groups love about Birmingham and the region and what their aspirations are for Birmingham 2022. Responses and further research has been used to help create the brand for Birmingham 2022, which will be launched in 2019
- Launch of sport and venues programme (18 October) – confirmation of venues that will be used. Located across the city, West Midlands and beyond.
- Business Briefing/launch of business portal (27 November) – a hugely successful event at the ICC with more than 500 representatives from local businesses attending to find out what opportunities might be available for them
- Sandwell Aquatics Centre – designs have been unveiled on and consultation launched (11 December), ahead of the planning application. The only brand new sports facility for the Games, so great to make progress on this project
- More information about the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be staged from 27 July to 7 August – twenty years after the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and ten years on from the London 2012 Olympic Games – can be found at www.birmingham2022.com
- The Games will feature competition in 17 sports over 11 days in venues across Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond
- 2022 Business Portal was launched recently at birmingham2022.com/businessportal This website will advertise all available Games contracts
- The Commonwealth Games Association of England (CGE) in partnership with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG), Birmingham City Council (BCC) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), were granted the right to host the XXII Commonwealth Games by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in December 2017. The Organising Committee (OC) has now been established for the purpose of organising the Games and is now working with all of these Games Partners
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