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Communities to share £9m Commonwealth Games legacy funding

Published: Monday 06 Nov 2023

A £9 million pot of Commonwealth Games legacy cash is being made available for grassroots projects that will unite communities across the West Midlands and get local people more physically and mentally active.

From today (Monday 6 November) community groups, charities, not-for-profit organisations, schools and colleges can bid for a share of the Inclusive Communities Fund - the biggest amount of legacy money to be given out in public grants.

Grants of between £500 and £300,000 are available for projects that will ensure the positive and long-lasting legacy from last summer’s Games is felt right across the region.

These could include improvements to local facilities, grassroots sports, community, arts and cultural events, and major projects. All must share the Fund’s goal of bringing people together, improving health and wellbeing, helping the region to grow, and putting the region on the map.

The money is being made available for the benefit of local people after the Government agreed to invest the £70 million Games underspend back into the region following successful negotiations led by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The Inclusive Communities Fund is being delivered by the WMCA in partnership with the Heart of England Community Foundation and United by 2022, the Official Games Legacy Charity.

Three people and a bull mascot smiling at the camera.

Nicola Turner, chief executive of United by 2022; Perry, Birmingham 2022's official mascot; Tina Costello, chief executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation; Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The Mayor, who is also WMCA chair, said: “With this new fund, we’re putting a significant amount of cash directly into the hands of local people in communities right across our region for them to decide exactly how to spend it.

“Right from the moment the West Midlands was chosen to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we were clear that the Games must leave a lasting legacy at grassroots level far beyond the summer of sporting spectacle. This money shows we’re delivering on that objective.

“This funding - combined with the £1 million environment fund that we’ve also recently announced - means there is now £10million being put to work drawn from the Games Budget underspend that we negotiated with Government to be allowed to retain for the benefit of locally led projects that tangibly improve the lives of local people.

“Whether that’s better facilities in neighbourhoods, events that help forge new friendships, or activities that improve our collective health and wellbeing, I would encourage as many people as possible to step forward and bid for their share of this cash. I look forward to seeing lives changed for the better in the months and years ahead.”

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew added: “Last year's Commonwealth Games were a huge success for the region, and we've committed to investing in the West Midlands long after the final medal was won.

“This £9 million Government funding will be spent on innovative projects to boost physical and mental health and wellbeing, supporting future generations.

“Our sports strategy sets out our plans to get 3.5 million children and adults active by 2030, and the Inclusive Communities Fund will go a long way towards making this happen.”

Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, the WMCA’s portfolio lead for inclusive communities, and leader of Sandwell Council, said: “The Inclusive Communities Fund is a one-off opportunity to make positive changes to our communities for the benefit of many generations.

“It will make a significant contribution to the combined authority’s commitment to addressing disparities and inequalities that sadly we know exist across the region by improving physical assets and fostering community connections that will ensure people have the best opportunity to thrive in the places where they live and work.”

Tina Costello, chief executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said: "We are thrilled to be delivering the Inclusive Communities Fund, working alongside the West Midlands Combined Authority and United By 2022 to make a real impact on our communities.

“This fund represents a fantastic opportunity to create positive, lasting change and we look forward to supporting local organisations in their efforts to make a meaningful difference across the West Midlands and Warwickshire”.

Nicola Turner, chief executive of United by 2022, said: “‘As the official custodians of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games legacy, United By 2022 are excited to be partnered with the Heart of England Community Foundation and the West Midlands Combined Authority, to support local communities to access the new Inclusive Communities Fund.

“We want to offer communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-served, an opportunity to successfully apply for a slice of the £9 million Commonwealth Games Legacy funding.”

Full details about the Inclusive Communities Fund and how to apply are available on the WMCA website.

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