To mark the launch of Birmingham 2022 volunteering applications, we enlisted the help of three elite athletes to volunteer at West Midlands community organisations and sport clubs to encourage applications.
Ellie Simmonds spent the day helping clean up Walsall’s canals with litter picking charity ‘World Against Single Use Plastic’, also known as WASUP. WASUP is one of 50 groups supported by the United By Birmingham 2022 community programme, and local hero Ellie donned a high-vis jacket and grabber to join the squad in their litter picking along the canal.
Commonwealth boxing champion Galal Yafai spent the day disguised as a volunteer at the 5UP community boxing gym in Handsworth, another project supported by the United By Birmingham 2022 community programme. The Birmingham-born boxer helped with tasks to prepare the gym before surprising a young group of aspiring boxers with a masterclass.
Team England rugby sevens legend Heather Fisher mucked in at Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club, helping to set up a training session before surprising young players with some coaching tips.
Para swimming legend and Birmingham 2022 board member Ellie Simmonds, Team England rugby sevens player Heather Fisher and Commonwealth gold medal-winning boxer Galal Yafai took time out of their training schedules to give back and volunteer, trying out some of the tasks that the ‘Commonwealth Collective’ might typically handle.
Athletes often emphasise what an important role volunteers have in making a Games. These athletes took the time to experience life as a volunteer, giving something back to their community just as volunteers at Birmingham 2022 will be able to do.
Five-time Paralympic swimming champion and Birmingham 2022 board member, Ellie Simmonds, said: “Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Commonwealth Games, the unsung heroes that allow us as athletes to succeed. Volunteering at WASUP was a fantastic way for me to give back to my local community in Walsall and I hope it inspires others to do the same. Volunteering at Birmingham 2022 will be a unique opportunity to contribute to the community and experience a home Games, so I’d encourage people of the West Midlands to submit an application. Even my parents and my coach are going to apply!”