Hundreds of young people across the West Midlands will gain access to new volunteering and employability boosting opportunities as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, thanks to a cash injection of £1 million from the National Lottery.  

£750,000 has been awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to Gen22, a legacy project created and run by Birmingham 2022. A separate £250,000 Sport England investment from the Sport England Lottery Sports Fund is also supporting Gen22.

The good news was announced today (Thursday 17 March), where Gen22 will use this vital funding to create 1,000 new opportunities for local young people (aged 16–24) to gain life skills from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (the Games) related activities. This is in addition to a workforce of 50,000, which the Games is expected to create.

This National Lottery funding will enable young people, who face barriers such as a lack of confidence, being a young carer or young parent, or having a criminal record, to contribute 30,000 hours of social action towards the Games, thanks to support from Gen22.

Working alongside Gen22, The National Lottery Community Fund will support four ‘flagship providers’ - The Canal and River Trust, Street Games, Groundwork and Positive Youth Foundation - which will support young people to design and deliver their own social action projects in Gen22’s focus sectors that interest them the most – mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, sustainability and creativity respectively. Sport England will be working with six West Midlands Active Partnerships to focus on sport and physical activity-related youth social action volunteering to deliver the Gen22 ambition.

The ‘Gen22 – Ideas Made Real’ campaign will also be launched thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund’s support, where Birmingham 2022 will invite young people from across the West Midlands to submit their project ideas. From these ideas, 22 projects will be selected and each will be matched with a local community organisation to work with a team of young people. Up to £10,000 of National Lottery funding will be awarded to each project to help make these ideas a reality.

Blondel Cluff CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Gen22’s important work and look forward to seeing the lasting impact National Lottery funding will have through upskilling talented young people.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will create a lasting legacy by generating volunteering and employment opportunities, that will support communities to prosper and thrive and build back stronger from the pandemic.”

Bethan Stimpson, Gen22 Programme Lead at Birmingham 2022, said: “I am delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has chosen to support Gen22 and our mission to bring the Games closer to our young regional audience. I’m particularly happy to launch our search for social action ideas from young people across the West Midlands and to see these become a reality. We hope that National Lottery players will be excited to see the impact they will make to the lives of our participants and their communities, and we’re really grateful for their contribution.”

Nicola Turner MBE, Director of Legacy at Birmingham 2022, said: “I love that Gen22 has been co-designed with young people. Their ideas for social action in the places they live get right to the heart of what’s needed, they will pay forward an amazing 30,000 hours of community support. While the immediate result is a thousand individual legacies for young people, the collective impact goes so much further – it’s a true Games for Everyone legacy.”

Jenny Betteridge, Sport England’s Strategic Lead for Volunteering, said: “Positive experiences for children and young people are at the heart of Sport England’s work. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting Gen22 - for those young people who wouldn’t normally get a chance to be involved in a world-class event like the Commonwealth Games.

“The legacy of life skills for young people – such as the confidence gained from volunteering to help their community to get active – is one of the most important parts of B2022. It will help us to build stronger and more connected communities, as well as investing in the skills of our future generation.”

Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Gen22 is an incredible opportunity for young people to make the changes they want to see in their own communities. I urge anyone aged 16 to 24 in the West Midlands with an idea and passion for social action to apply.

"I have no doubt that the successful projects will provide services that local people need and also contribute to the legacy of the Commonwealth Games."

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million* each week for good causes across the UK. To find out more visit   

Young people can submit their Ideas Made Real project ideas by 24 April 2022.