Birmingham 2022 leaves a lasting legacy


Positive impact of Birmingham 2022 Image: Birmingham 2022

The positive impact of hosting the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 has been outlined in a new report from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Sport England said one of the Games’ stated ambitions was to inspire and enable people to improve and sustain levels of physical activity, with a particular focus on the most inactive and under-represented groups.

Two of the facilities Sport England invested in for the Games were Cannock Chase Forest and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

The DCMS report highlights that, one month after Sandwell opened, it had acquired 4,400 members and welcomed over 60,000 visitors, with 70% of these participants coming from the top 30% most deprived areas.
Other key sport and physical activity findings from the report include:

  • Games-related activities engaged a total of 6.9 million attendees, participants, volunteers and employees, and participation data shows a large proportion were from Birmingham and the West Midlands.
  • Visits to leisure centres in the local authorities where the Games were hosted increased by 17% from pre- to post-Games, in comparison to a 5% increase in neighbouring areas that did not host the Games.

A range of Games-related programmes and initiatives were delivered with the aim of removing community barriers to being active and improving levels of physical activity locally. These included:

  • Support provided by the 21 national governing bodies (NGBs) involved in the Games to over 402,300 participants through the rollout of various sports programmes and events. We invested £6.5m in these NGBs to develop innovative, non-traditional or digital ideas to drive participation.
  • 70 Active Street festivals held with over 10,400 participants.
  • Over 2,450 schools engaging with Games-related Daily Mile resources.
  • 16,000 pieces of used Games equipment provided free of charge or donated to over 290 West Midlands organisations.

Sport England invested £35 million – a combination of government and National Lottery money – on new facilities and other projects designed to increase participation levels.

And following the Games they agreed a 10-year, £5.5 million partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, with the aim of making it easier for the region’s residents to walk, cycle, take part in exercise and play sport more frequently.

Sport England Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth said, “The evaluation report for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games is very heartening. It illustrates – done right – the legacy of major events can be positive for improving access to sport and physical activity.

“The Games gave us a wonderful platform to create lasting impact at community level across the country by bringing us together through sport, community and friendship.

“Through Uniting the Movement, we’re committed to tackling the deep-rooted inequalities that prevent some people from enjoying the benefits of an active lifestyle.

“So our £35 million investment in the Games was targeted where it was most needed, delivering new facilities and creating ongoing volunteering and activity opportunities for local communities in the West Midlands.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved already and, through our 10-year partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, we’ll continue to create inclusive opportunities for people to play sport and get active.”

The DCMS report concluded that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games contributed almost £1.2 billion to the UK economy. The report said that the economy had grown, new jobs had been created and future generations will see a lasting legacy in the West Midlands region.

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