Over 16,000 pieces of sports equipment used by teams and athletes during the Commonwealth Games have now been gifted to 290 local sport and community groups in the West Midlands, following a rigorous application process.
Sport England, the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee and the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) joined forces to give away the equipment - including bikes, wrestling and judo mats, weights, T20 cricket equipment, basketballs and boxing gloves, as well as general items, such as cones and bibs.
The equipment giveaway was supported with collaboration from a wide range of organisations and community leaders across the West Midlands, ensuring the giveaway reflects the diversity of communities in the region.
In addition, it supports the long-term ambition of the Commonwealth Games to support local people to take part in sport and be active, creating a lasting community impact in the West Midlands.
On Tuesday 8th November, an equipment giveaway event was held in Coventry at the Cardinal Wiseman school to celebrate the community impact of the Games, in partnership with Guardian Ballers – a mental and emotional wellbeing basketball programme that has been awarded equipment through the giveaway. England 3x3 Commonwealth Games 2022 gold medallist Orlan Jackman joined the event to handover the equipment to the Guardian Ballers and the Coventry Wheelchair Basketball Academy.
Guardian Ballers promote social cohesion, connection and positive mental health through basketball and provide inclusive sporting experiences for diverse young people in the West Midlands, working with communities that traditionally enjoy fewer opportunities to get involved in sport. The Coventry Wheelchair Basketball Academy provide opportunities for wheelchair basketball through from grassroots to elite level, with the goal of developing young people through the sport and tackling isolation.
Almost 2,500 applications were submitted to the giveaway, demonstrating the local need and demand for support. Sport England has now dedicated £100k from its overall £35 million investment into the Games to support more community groups to access the sports equipment they need.
The Places and Spaces fund - part of Sport England’s wider Commonwealth Games package – remains open for applications too, to help community sport and physical activity groups create or improve facilities in their local area. The B2022 Small Grants programme is open until the end of January 2023 too, to support community projects that bring people together through sport and physical activity.
Orlan Jackman, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games 3x3 basketball gold medallist said: “The purpose of sport is to give life skills – hard work, teamwork. I am here to inspire the next generation and show you that sport can change lives.”
Kieran Joseph, the founder and CEO of Guardian Ballers, said: “This equipment gives us the tools to transform more lives and empower young people by supporting their mental and emotional wellbeing and getting them active. We work with diverse communities that represent the heritage of the Commonwealth - different cultures, races, and religions – and we’re proof that grassroots sport brings people of all backgrounds together.”
Nicole Cross, Chair of the Coventry Wheelchair Basketball Academy, said: “The kit will allow us to develop our 3X3 basketball offering and give more young people the chance to take part in wheelchair basketball. I am consistently inspired by the people that are part of our club.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England said: “The fact that within three months of the Games ending we are able to give away 16,000 pieces of kit and equipment means the Commonwealth Games is continuing to deliver real benefit to people of the West Midlands. This was a major ambition for Sport England’s £35 million investment into the Games, and it’s at the heart of our Uniting the Movement strategy too: that everyone, regardless of background, bank balance or where they live has the opportunity to get active.
“We’re also delighted to continue to offer more opportunities to local groups, through dedicating £100k to sports equipment in the West Midlands, alongside our Places and Spaces facilities fund and B2022 small grants programme.”
John Steele OBE, Chair of Team England, said: “It’s an honour that the same equipment that helped England win medals is now going to be used by grassroots groups in the West Midlands. Getting active can transform lives and it’s amazing to see this equipment be put to such good use. It’s the Games legacy in action.”