SPIRIT of 2012 has announced the award of a grant of £40,000 to the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee to help secure the future of the Commonwealth Games’ volunteering programme.
The 14,000 people, known as the Commonwealth Collective, generously volunteered their time over the summer and are credited as the most diverse group of volunteers ever seen in the UK. The grant will enable the Organising Committee to work with existing organisations in the West Midlands to harness this surge in volunteering and create a plan for a more permanent programme.
In addition to the grant, Spirit of 2012 will work with the Organising Committee through to the end of 2022 to share lessons on setting up and sustaining volunteering programmes in other places, including Hull Volunteers, which is still thriving, five years down the line from Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
Over the last eight years, Spirit of 2012 has funded projects that have created nearly 50,000 volunteering opportunities and has a particular focus on ensuring that volunteering opportunities are inclusive for underserved and disabled people. These have included research and reports on how events can boost volunteering and how volunteering can be more inclusive. This week Spirit of 2012 announced a further £1million of funding for four places that bid for the UK City of Culture 2025 to develop their volunteering infrastructure.
Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012 said:
“This year is the tenth anniversary of London 2012. As a nation, we’re still talking about that summer, with 65% of people saying that the effects are still being felt ten years on. But there was an opportunity at the time, that many felt was lost, to really capitalise on the spirit of the Games Makers. We’ve learned a lot since then, and together with the organising committee, we are determined not to lose the opportunity we have here for Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“There were many stars of the show during Birmingham 2022, but none bigger than the Commonwealth Collective. Our volunteers showed the world how generous and helpful the people of our city can be – and those who were a part of the Collective have skills, qualities and experience that can now be used for the good of Birmingham in the future. This new platform will enable them and others to play their part in supporting a wide range of projects, further strengthening the legacy of our Commonwealth Games.”
Sir David Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and incoming Chair United By 2022 said:
“Birmingham 2022 has brought forward a whole new generation of volunteers, who are representative of our local communities and from many backgrounds and age groups. From this pool of talent, WMP wants to grow their own volunteer family including Cadets and Special Constables.”
The £40,000 grant will fund a member of staff to consult with volunteers, prospective volunteers and volunteering organisations. This will inform a set of recommendations, delivered by the end of this year, for establishing a permanent volunteering platform for Birmingham and the West Midlands.