▲ Image: Colin Jackson with Birmingham 2022 Mascot Perry inside the newly-opened Volunteer Selection Centre
With 325 days to go, the Volunteer Selection Centre for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is now open, with over 25,000 people expected to pass through the doors over the coming months.
The application process opened in June and thousands of people from Birmingham, the West Midlands and further afield have applied to become part of the ‘Commonwealth Collective’; a community of passionate and dedicated people who will play a vital role in delivering the Games in just under a year’s time.
The Volunteer Selection Centre, located in the iconic Library of Birmingham, offers a 90 minute experience for potential volunteers, with an exhibition about the Games and a cinema room, alongside a 30 minute interview.
Over 41,000 people applied for roles including drivers, first aiders, meet and greeters, venue preppers, kit carriers and everything in between to help the Games run smoothly. The 13,000 volunteers selected will be notified in February and will receive approximately 250,000 hours of training and complete one million hours of volunteer time.
▲ Image: Colin Jackson with volunteers in the dedicated interview area of the Selection Centre
The Commonwealth Collective will be a dedicated and dynamic group that will reflect the diversity of the West Midlands as well as the modern Commonwealth.
Laura Easton, Volunteering Special Project Lead from Birmingham 2022 said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the response we’ve had from people who want to be a volunteer at Birmingham 2022 and we would like to thank every single person that has applied so far.
“We want to create a diverse and passionate group of people who truly represent Birmingham and the West Midlands and are pleased to see that so many young people and those from different ethnic groups have applied.
“We’re really excited to start the selection process today and can’t wait to welcome people through the doors. The majority of our roles don’t require formal experience or qualifications, just positivity and a passion to help us deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games.”
The volunteers that join the Commonwealth Collective will be the public faces of Birmingham 2022 and represent the Games experience for athletes, officials, spectators and a global audience of over one billion. The Games is the largest sporting and cultural event ever to be held in the West Midlands and the biggest in the UK for a decade.
▲ Image: The Volunteer Selection Centre features a unique Commonwealth Games exhibition
Two-time Commonwealth Champion Colin Jackson commented: “Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Commonwealth Games and play a hugely important role in making both athletes’ and spectators’ journeys very special. They are often the first people that visitors to the city and the Games meet, and their positivity always radiates through.
“Birmingham 2022 is a unique opportunity to contribute to the community and I’m so excited to get the selection process off to a great start.”
“another major milestone on the road to delivering a fantastic Commonwealth Games”
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “We are thrilled that the iconic and world-famous Library of Birmingham is able to play such a key role in creating the Commonwealth Collective that will greet visitors to the Proud Host City in the summer of 2022.
“As a building renowned for being a centre of learning, culture, community and skills, it is fitting that it is the volunteer selection centre. As a city our people are known for their warmth and their approachability – so I am sure the volunteers that are chosen will do a fantastic job of promoting Birmingham and supporting visitors to the wider region next year.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The response from those across the West Midlands and around the country who want to volunteer for the Commonwealth Games next year has been phenomenal, and it is so encouraging to know that so many want to play their part in what will be a generation-defining event for our region.
“I know that those chosen will do an excellent job in showcasing the very best of our region, and I wish all those going through the selection process starting today all the very best.”
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport and Tourism, said: “The Birmingham 2022 volunteers will be the faces of the Games, representing the best of the region and the UK to the whole Commonwealth.
“With less than a year to go, the opening of the volunteer selection centre is another major milestone on the road to delivering a fantastic Commonwealth Games that Birmingham and the country can be proud of.”
Paul Blanchard, Commonwealth Games England CEO said: “It’s so exciting that the selection process has started today and the ‘Commonwealth Collective’ will be formed. A Games is only made possible by the fantastic volunteers and for athletes they play a crucial role in ensuring they’re supported through competition and have an incredible Games experience.”