Bold proposals drawn up to maximise Commonwealth Games legacy for Birmingham

Four projects are being put forward by the city council for funding consideration should the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games be delivered under budget.

A report to the council’s Cabinet on June 28 outlines details of the proposals, which would be formally put to Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) should underspends materialise.

The four proposals (detailed below) cover funding for grassroots sport and cultural organisations, the creation of a new museum for science and industry, a long-term study tracking the impact of the Games on local people and financial support for a bid to host the European Athletics Championships in 2026.

The ideas all align with the City Council’s Birmingham 2022 legacy plan ‘Delivering a Bold Legacy for Birmingham’, published in December 2021, which is itself linked to the Council Plan and has set out over 80 projects to be delivered over the short, medium and longer term.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Although the Games are still a month away, we are now at that point where we need to look at what happens beyond the event.

“I’ve always been clear that Birmingham 2022 is more than 11 days of sporting action – that’s exactly why we have assembled this menu of options, looking at how any underspent money can be best uses to maximise the legacy of the Games for the people of the Proud Host City.

“If the funding becomes available, these proposals are bold in their detail and cover a broad range of activities and areas, to ensure the benefits of hosting the biggest event in our city’s history continues to be felt for many years to come.”

Background notes

The four proposals are summarised as below:

Investing in grassroots sport and culture

Subject to available funding, a £2-3million package of grants to SMEs in the creative sector could be provided, to strengthen and evolve the sector, building on the progress already being made by the Festival 2022, in particular through the council-funded Creative City strand of the Games cultural programme.

Further to this would be development of a grassroots sport proposition of £1-2million that would realise investment into neighbourhood settings by investing in local sports clubs, supporting groups that are providing local people with access to a range of physical activity and seeking opportunities to introduce supporting infrastructure into local parks.

A bid for up to £3million to further enhance the community sport offer at Alexander Stadium and in Perry Park, is also set to be tabled, linked to the 2040 Perry Barr Masterplan.

Project 2022

This would monitor the impact of the Commonwealth Games through a Bolder Birmingham Birth Cohort 2022 which would follow 2,022 children and their families for a decade of development and growth. Funding of £1million would be required to meet set-up costs.

Providing a tangible tracker for the city’s success in changing outcomes for children and young people and their families, this would be the first time a Commonwealth Games host would have established a longitudinal assessment of the measurable impact on the lives of citizens as a result of hosting the event.

‘Birmingham: City of Ideas’: Developing a new Museum of Science & Industry proposition

This would include a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-themed programme of cultural activity across the city’s neighbourhoods, and the development of an international flagship museum of science and industry in Birmingham’s city centre.

Any new museum building would be a part of a mixed-use neighbourhood and create new open spaces and cultural opportunities with activities taking place in different neighbourhoods across the city.

The project would work with partners and neighbourhoods to co-create a new museum model that reflects the diversity of Birmingham and its heritage. It would convert increased engagement and understanding of the city’s scientific and industrial heritage into future-facing skills development

The proposal being developed is for £300,000 to continue the feasibility work on a new museum and also to run four neighbourhood projects focused on community engagement in cultural activities.

Should a new museum operation be realised it is anticipated that it could attract one million visitors, contributing £30m to the city and region via tourism and fundamentally increasing engagement in STEM via social history.

Bidding to host the European Athletics Championships 2026

The council is partnering with UK Athletics on the proposal, which would represent a major events legacy from the Commonwealth Games for the newly-redeveloped Alexander Stadium, and aligns with the council’s Major Sporting Events Plan. Full details can be found in an announcement from UK Athletics and the city council.

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