Sport England has announced £1million of new funding for Birmingham as part of its wider investment into the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The aim of the funding is to tackle inactivity in local communities and engage underrepresented groups, such as people on lower incomes and disabled people – a core part of Sport England’s 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement.
The National Lottery-funded investment has been awarded to Birmingham as part of a £3m Commonwealth Active Communities Fund. It was awarded to four West Midlands areas in total – Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham and the Black Country – to support the creation of a wide range of opportunities to help people get active in their local streets and parks. These include cycling and walking programmes, encouraging use of the canal network, expanding volunteering opportunities and supporting social prescribing.
The funding announcement for Birmingham comes as Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey found inactivity levels in the West Midlands have worsened since the start of the pandemic, with over 100,000 more inactive adults and nearly 70,000 fewer active adults.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said:
“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a massive moment for the nation next year and an exciting chance to bring people together through sport and activity. The challenge is turning this into a legacy that has lasting impact and helps people to connect and stay active. Legacy is dependent on the creation of long-term local opportunities for people – at the right location and at the right cost.
“That is why the Commonwealth Active Communities Fund is so important. It’s building the foundations to create change that lasts in the West Midlands – bringing communities together and getting people active in a long-term, sustainable way well beyond the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Mike Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Sport Birmingham, said:
“As the Active Partnership for Birmingham our purpose is to improve lives through sport and physical activity and help create a more active and healthier city for everyone. Hosting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gives us the chance to help communities and people connect with each other through sport and physical activity and we are excited to be working with Sport England to make the very most of this funding.
“As a partnership we have many exciting plans to work with communities so that we can tackle some of the inequalities that exist, and we will be focusing our investment in areas where this is most significant; supporting in particular children and young people, disabled people, and those with health conditions.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“The Commonwealth Active Communities Fund will help improve access to sport for people across the West Midlands, regardless of their ability or their background. Birmingham 2022 will not only be a celebration of world-class athletes from across the Commonwealth. As these programmes show, they are also a golden opportunity to champion our local communities and give people the spaces and facilities they need to keep active.”