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£3m funding boost for sports and cultural events

Published: Wednesday 03 Jan 2024

Nine cultural and sporting events set to take place in the West Midlands have shared £3 million of Commonwealth Games legacy funding to help bring hundreds of thousands of people together in the region.

Giving an estimated £11.5 million boost to the local economy, almost 700,000 competitors, performers and spectators are expected to attend the events in 2024 and 2025 to celebrate the region’s rich and diverse sporting, music and cultural heritage.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the UK Government is supporting the organisers with money from the £70 million Games underspend which is being reinvested back into the region.

The events that are to receive this funding are:

  • ESL One - Dota II esports tournament, Solihull, 26-28 April 2024 - £145,000
  • European Judo Union Junior Cup, Walsall, 15-19 June 2024 – £250,000
  • Black Country Festival, 1-31 July, 2024 - £365,000
  • Godiva Festival ‘Worldwide Welcome’, Coventry, 5-7 July 2024 - £500,000
  • Reggae Fever - Celebration of Caribbean Culture, Coventry, 20 July 2024 - £250,000
  • Birmingham Weekender Festival, 22-25 August 2024 - £350,000
  • SuperDome esports tournament, Solihull, 5-8 September - £250,000
  • West Midlands Urban Sports, Wolverhampton, 6-8 September 2024 - £390,000
  • Kabaddi World Cup, 24-31 March 2025 - £500,000
Andy Street and Beverley Knight smiling at the camera holding a Black Country flag at the Black Country Museum

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, and Beverley Knight at last year's Black Country Festival. This year's festival is being supported with £365,000 of funding from the WMCA.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “It was always our intention that the Commonwealth Games should leave a lasting legacy far beyond the sporting spectacle - as wonderful as that was.

“With this £3 million of Games legacy funding, we’re turning words into action. This money will help us to host the Kabaddi World Cup and will support the organisers of well-established local events such as the Godiva Festival in Coventry, Birmingham Weekender and the Black Country Festival - alongside some new events.

“Collectively, this backing will bring in hundreds of thousands of people to our region, give a welcome boost to local businesses and provide valuable jobs and volunteering opportunities for local people. I look forward to seeing the difference this support makes on the ground and celebrating all that is great about the West Midlands in the months and years ahead.”

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: “The record-breaking Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a great success, bringing in millions of pounds to the local economy, and £870 million gross value added to the wider UK economy. This Government's aim is to make sure Birmingham's legacy is felt in the region for years to come.

"From a celebration of Caribbean Culture in Coventry to a judo competition in Walsall, hundreds of thousands of people will directly benefit from these diverse legacy projects across the West Midlands thanks to the £70 million Games underspend."

Cllr Stephen Simkins, WMCA portfolio lead for the economy and leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “We already know what a fantastic place the West Midlands is to live, work and socialise.

“Following the successful Commonwealth Games, our focus must remain on ensuring that we leverage the maximum benefit for the whole region by demonstrating to the rest of the world that we are a first-class location capable of winning a succession of high-priority events that can help to boost our global reputation and economy.

“The two major events coming to Wolverhampton will provide a huge shot in the arm for our exciting five-year events strategy, helping to secure the city’s status as a destination of choice for visitors.”

Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, said: “We saw during the 2022 Commonwealth Games – where record numbers of visitors and businesses came to the West Midlands – the hugely important role culture and sport play in our regional economy.

“The Commonwealth Games legacy funding is designed to enable the region to carry on that momentum. We received a healthy interest in the fund from applicants across the West Midlands and have selected an exciting calendar of inclusive and sustainable events set to engage our diverse communities and continue driving tourism and investment into the region over the coming years.

“This kicks off with the first recipient of this funding, the SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit in April, where we look forward to welcoming sport's global decision makers to grow our sporting events calendar even further.”

The effective organisation and delivery of the Commonwealth Games meant the event came in under budget.

Following discussions between the Mayor and the WMCA’s local authority partners the UK Government has decided to invest the remaining £70 million into the region to enhance the legacy of the Games and ensure the benefits continue their positive impact for many years to come.

Businesses and community groups can find out more about how to benefit from the WMCA’s Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund on the WMCA's website.

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