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Roundtable kicks off plan to get LGBTQ+ people more active

Published: Wednesday 30 Aug 2023

Plans to help get the LGBTQ+ community in the West Midlands more active as part of the Commonwealth Games sporting legacy will be discussed at an open roundtable event at the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr.

A year on from the region hosting the most inclusive and accessible Games in its history, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and charity Pride Sports is inviting local people and sports organisations to attend the first LGBTQ+ Sport Legacy Roundtable on Wednesday 6 September.

The event has been convened by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, and will be the first in a series of open forums for LGBTQ+ people to discuss their experiences of taking part in sport or regular physical activity.

They will also be invited to put forward suggestions on what needs to be done to break down any barriers they face.

Getting local people more active is a key part of the WMCA’s work to improve the mental and physical health of local people. This will also address the health inequalities that exist across the West Midlands as a result of the region having some of England’s highest levels of inactivity.

National research shows over half of LGBT men and women, and two thirds of LGBT people who identify as gender fluid or gender queer , are not doing the minimum recommended amount of physical activity.

The WMCA and Pride Sports will work with individuals, clubs, and national governing bodies to collect the first set of regional data on current levels of participation by LGBTQ+ people.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Last summer, our region played host to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. These Games were arguably the most inclusive held to date and the presence of Pride House was a big reason for that.

“Established at many sporting events around the world since 2010 and dedicated to LGBTQ+ diversity, Pride House shone bright within sporting venues and other official spaces used by athletes and spectators throughout the Games period.

“That warm Games welcome must now be reflected in the future opportunities on offer to anyone who wants to join a sports club or take part in other regular physical activity. The purpose of gatherings like this is to listen to the experiences of local LGBTQ+ people when it comes to taking part in sport and co-design collective commitments that can deliver a lasting legacy in the months and years ahead.”

The WMCA is working with Pride Sports as part a commitment to delivering a legacy of last year’s hugely successful Games that is felt right across the region.

Earlier this summer, the WMCA and Sport England unveiled a 10-year plan to use the Commonwealth Games as a springboard to make it easier for people from all parts of society to walk, cycle and take part in exercise and play sport more frequently.

Some of the 300 sports clubs and community associations who received equipment from the Games kit giveaway committed to using their donations to encourage greater participation from the LGBTQ+ community.

The WMCA and Pride Sports will also map existing sport and physical activity opportunities and make recommendations on how existing provision can be better promoted and replicated where gaps are identified.

Lou Englefield, director at Pride Sports, said: “We’re excited to be working with the WMCA on such a key piece of work. Understanding the challenges faced by the community to access sport or physical activity, but also seeking to enhance the offer being made by great local clubs in a range of sports is an important step towards greater inclusion, more opportunities and addressing the barriers that many people - young and old, currently face.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, WMCA portfolio lead for wellbeing and leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Hosting open discussions is key to the WMCA’s work with communities to understand the barriers, good practice and opportunities that will reduce the inequalities in health including sport and physical activity, and more importantly to stimulate change.

"This builds on the excellent work we continue to do to champion opportunities for disabled people.”

The first LGBTQ+ Sport Legacy Roundtable is open to all and free to attend. It takes place at the Alexander Stadium on Wednesday 6 September, from 6.15pm to 8.30pm.

Places must be booked on the WMCA's Eventbrite page.

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