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£70m funding boost for Commonwealth Games legacy projects

Published: Tuesday 20 Jun 2023

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has approved funding for 13 projects as part of £70 million UK Government funding that will ensure the Games’ positive and long-lasting legacy is felt across the entire region.

The effective organisation and delivery of the Games last summer meant the event came in under budget. Following discussions with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and the WMCA, the UK Government has decided to invest the remaining £70 million into the region to enhance the legacy and ensure the benefits continue their positive impact for many years to come.

Among the first to benefit are the five hugely successful Games Legacy Trailblazer projects, run by United by 2022, the Official Games Legacy Charity.

Thanks to £5 million from the fund, they will continue to engage with people from underserved and overlooked communities across the West Midlands for a further two years, widening the impact they had in the build up to last year’s Games to ensure as many people as possible were part of the 10-day spectacle.

They are Critical Mass, an inclusive dance and movement programme; Gen22, a youth social action programme, aimed at empowering young people aged 16-24 to make real change in their own communities; Bring the Power, which promotes more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to get more women and girls participating in Games-linked physical activity; Social Value, a private and third sector partnership to financially support grassroots organisations; and Volunteers’ Collective, a region-wide website to promote volunteering opportunities.

There is also a £10.5 million Community Fund programme for locally led projects that bring people together and promote health and wellbeing; and a £1.2 million Environment Fund programme - building on the WMCA’s Community Green Grants scheme which has supported communities with grants to open up access to more green space for 200,000 residents and planted over 2,000 trees.

Other projects allocated money from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund are:

  • £13.7m to support Birmingham as the host city of the European Athletics Championships in 2026, bolstering the region and the UK’s reputation for hosting major sporting events.
  • £5.75 million for a jobs and skills programme that will deliver employment support projects, and to help implement the recommendations of the second West Midlands Mental Health Commission.
  • £2 million to drive the region’s social economy including one of the largest specialist business support programmes for new and existing social enterprises.
  • £3.25 million to provide intensive support to high-growth businesses and those in the manufacturing supply chain to create jobs and grow the economy as part of the region’s Plan for Growth economic blueprint.
  • £4.1 million to support the recovery of the region’s cultural, heritage and creative sector by commissioning creative projects and place-based activities in each of the seven WMCA constituent council areas and developing the first West Midlands-wide strategies to drive engagement, investment, and skills development.
  • £2.5 million to kick off the Global West Midlands programme which aims to build on the profile the Games brought to the region, run by the West Midlands Growth Company.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “It was always our intention that - beyond the summer of sporting spectacle - the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games would leave behind a lasting legacy by delivering a meaningful impact on the lives of local people right across our region for months and years to come.

“That’s why I’m delighted to see that vision now bearing fruit. As we approach the first anniversary of the Games, we can now see how legacy funding will begin to be deployed across the West Midlands to change lives for the better. Whether it’s dance programmes for local youngsters, enabling future mass volunteering efforts, protecting our natural environment, supporting job creation and much more besides, this funding will act as a catalyst for improving the health and wellbeing of our residents and overall quality of life here in the West Midlands.

“Reflecting now on the announcement that the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport made at the October 2022 Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that we would be able to retain more than £70m from the Games budget underspend, I’m very glad that we pressed our case with Government and worked together to agree this funding package - clear eyed about the difference that money can and will make for generations to come.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Last summer Birmingham hosted an unforgettable Commonwealth Games.

“Beyond the medals won, records broken and memories to last a lifetime, we were determined to deliver a fantastic legacy - sporting, cultural and economic - for generations to come. At the heart of this plan was inspiring people to get into sport and physical activity, boosting job and volunteering opportunities, and creating a more sustainable region.

“The Government’s decision to commit this £70 million funding to support fantastic projects across the region will ensure the Games’ legacy lives on in the West Midlands, maximising the potential of the local area and creating and supporting more opportunities for people to enjoy sport.”

Sir David Thompson QPM DL, United By 2022 chair, said: “On behalf of United by 2022 Legacy Charity, we celebrate the announcement of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund which will strengthen the legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Through the continuation of our successful Trailblazer Legacy projects, we are committed to making a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and communities. The Games were just the beginning, and with the collective effort and support from our partners, we will continue to create positive change. By investing in projects that harness the transformative power of sport, communities, arts and culture, we are building on the momentum that was generated by the Games.”

Cllr John Cotton, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This financial support for the hosting of the European Athletics Championships 2026 in Birmingham from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund strengthens the long-lasting and wide-ranging legacy ambitions from the Games.

“Hosting major sporting events delivers positive, economic, physical health and environmental impact for our residents, businesses and regional economy beyond the programme of track and field activities.

“The UK has never hosted a European Athletics Championships and once again Birmingham is leading the way as a global sporting city. This prestigious mega event will provide another opportunity for Birmingham and the West Midlands to shine on the world stage and drive forward the region’s Plan for Growth.”

The WMCA’s Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund is in addition to the work of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee’s Games Legacy Plan, which set out how the event will have a positive impact on jobs, skills, education, culture, physical, and investment across the region.

More projects will be allocated money from the Fund in the coming months.

Enquiries about the Fund should be emailed to

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