Birmingham residents overwhelmingly back the Commonwealth Games coming to the city in 2022, according to a new survey.
The findings come after the city took a starring role in the spectacular 2018 Commonwealth Games Handover ceremony, showcasing its youth culture and diverse arts to a global audience of more than a billion television viewers.
More than 350 people living in Birmingham and the wider region share their support for the 2022 Games in the survey. A total of 82% of respondents believe being the next host city is “positive and will boost jobs and investment in the city.”
The same number also think host city status will improve Birmingham’s national and international reputation and seven out of 10 respondents are already excited about the buzz sparked by the Games – with four years still to go.
The snapshot of Birmingham attitudes was captured by Birmingham City Council and Culture Central at the “Homecoming” party that took place in Victoria Square on Saturday (April 21).
The city’s positive reaction towards the Games was evident at the “Homecoming” event, which was attended by Team England champions including Birmingham-born gold medal-winning gymnast Dominick Cunningham and Coventry-based gold medal-winning netballers
Natalie Haythornthwaite and Jade Clarke.
The athletes delighted party-goers by mingling with the crowds and showcasing their medals. Cunningham even wowed with an impromptu glimpse of his gold medal skills when he somersaulted on stage alongside compere and Blue Peter presenter, Radzi Chinyanganya. The sports stars were treated to a confetti moment when they joined Bollywood dancers from Birmingham-based dance group Shiamak Company on-stage.
Birmingham may only be at the beginning of the journey to 2022, but the city is already embracing the sporting spirit. A quarter of those surveyed took part in at least one of the “have-a-go” sessions that allowed visitors to try out 17 sports that will feature in the Birmingham Games.
One partygoer said they were looking forward to the Games as it will “give people a chance to see Birmingham” and will help “put us on the map”.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anne Underwood, said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see that the people of Birmingham are excited about the next Commonwealth Games being held here. We’re already reaping the rewards, with a great atmosphere and more people getting active. It’s going to be a truly fantastic journey for the city over the next few years.”
Mike Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Sport Birmingham, said: “At the ‘Homecoming’ party we saw so many people, of all ages, taking on sports sessions, and it was wonderful to see just how many were inspired by Team England’s presence and achievements in the Gold Coast. The 2022 Games will be here before we know it and the sporting spirit in the city will only get stronger.”
Monique Deletant, deputy CEO of Culture Central, said: “The people of Birmingham have really embraced this year’s Commonwealth Games and the sense of anticipation in the city ahead of ‘our turn’ is definitely building. Saturday’s event showcased the diverse, talented artists from the city and we’re so pleased that Team England got to experience a taste of our thriving cultural scene. It was brilliant to see so many people joining in the celebrations. It marks the beginning of a very exciting journey.”
Culture Central is the organisation behind the successful Commonwealth Games Handover and Birmingham Weekender 2017.