In three years’ time Birmingham and the West Midlands will host the Commonwealth Games, and communities from across the region will play a key role in shaping this story.
Our aim is to celebrate the diverse mix of people that make our region so special and empower them to take advantage of this extraordinary, once in a lifetime opportunity.
To ensure local people are placed at the heart of the Games, we carried out a community research study to understand what they want to see from the Games. This allowed us to share our vision and mission of Birmingham 2022, and in response hear first hand what local communities are thinking, feeling and saying in response.
“We have seen what The Games did in Australia, and like how the Olympics brought everyone together, it’s going to be so exciting for the City.”
For eight weeks over Summer we staged ‘Common Ground’: a listening art project where we visited 10 community locations across Walsall, Solihull, Cannock, Royal Leamington Spa, Stourbridge, Coventry, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
Our objective was to empower people so that they can take full advantage of the extraordinary opportunity the Commonwealth Games will present. We wanted to give local people an opportunity to learn about Birmingham 2022 and then share their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions; all of which will help shape how we prepare for and deliver the Games over the next three years.
Our team went into the heart of these local areas and invited people to come and have a conversation about the Games so that we could understand how Birmingham 2022 could benefit their communities and create a positive legacy. Over this period, we had nearly 500 conversations with people in shopping centres, on high streets and at local events across the region.
We talked to people from different towns, neighbourhoods, backgrounds, ages, and gender, and there were clear and consistent themes that emerged.
People wanted Birmingham 2022:
“It will give the whole town a lift, and sometimes sleeping towns need that; they need a bit of a lift.”
Common Ground is the first in a series of community conversations we will continue to have. Our aim is to listen, understand, and then respond to the findings of the research. We will build this feedback into our planning and it will shape how we deliver the Games over the next three years.
We will continue to engage with communities in a meaningful way across the entire region. We found willing ambassadors, passionate, active groups of people, and engaged individuals who are ready to take ownership of the positive impact Birmingham 2022 will have and help us deliver a Games for everyone.
“The buzz that the commonwealth games will bring is going to be great. Small businesses are going to see a spike in profits, and it might even give them a chance to expand.”