I am writing this note from Birmingham, the host of our home Commonwealth Games in 2022, where we staged our 2019 Annual General Meeting yesterday – welcoming our key partner in Sport England, representatives from our member National Governing Bodies, and our Games Partners in the Organising Committee. 

Thank you to everyone for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us. 

This time last year, we were reflecting on a successful Gold Coast Games, and although you would expect it to have been a quieter year since then – with a home Games on the horizon, it has been anything but.

At the AGM, we were delighted to announce that Francesca Carter-Kelly has been appointed Chef de Mission for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. ‘Frankie’ is currently Head of Performance and Sport Engagement and oversaw our preparation camp for last year’s Commonwealth Games. She will do an excellent job.

That followed the news in September that Mark England, who is preparing to lead Team GB as Chef de Mission at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, will take on a similar role for us at Birmingham 2022. Mark has a wealth of experience and his exceptional insight, understanding and quality will be a real asset to us. 

Over the past year, we have continued to strengthen our relationships with our stakeholders in sport. It’s testament to the great structures in the high performance sport system in the UK that we can work so closely with each other to ensure that success in sport continues for the stars of the future.

I’d like to particularly thank our funding partner Sport England who are incredibly supportive of what we do. They, alongside UK Sport have championed this joined up approach to elite sport. We have been working closely with both organisations, the home nation Commonwealth Games Associations and other Sports Councils, through the High Performance System Advisory Group on how we best prepare for the Games and I’d like to thank them for their continued support. 

Similarly, with thanks and support from Sport England, we have begun hosting bi-annual meetings with the CEOs of our member National Governing Bodies,which have already proved popular and invaluable. 

We have also been telling the stories of our incredible athletes, who I’d like to thank for their dedication to their sport and the time they have given us. We have wanted to show them in real life environments within their communities and highlight the impact they have.

In the past year, we’ve worked with every Commonwealth sport all across the country. With 54 athletes from 23 different sports. 12 para athletes, 33 female and 21 male with 15 from BAME backgrounds. 

Team England brings together athletes from every corner of the country, from different backgrounds, and all walks of life, to celebrate a united goal: to make their country proud. 

I mentioned earlier about Frankie leading the next generation of Team England athletes at the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

This year, we were fortunate to receive a donation of £50,000 from a friend of the organisation, Mark Hanson, to support young athletes.

With this kind offer, we have created the Sir John Hanson Young Talent Scholarship, in memory of Mark’s father, to help five athletes on their progression towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Keep an eye out to track the progress of Abazz Shayaam-Smith (athletics), Kelly Peterson-Pollard (judo), Lucy Turmel (squash), Kieran Rollings (para lawn bowls) and Abigail Burton (rugby sevens). 

We were fortunate to have four of them join us sharing valuable insight to their lives as athletes and how the scholarship will help them. I’d like to thank them for attending and speaking 

We were delighted to be able to present our former sports director with the Commonwealth Sport Order of Merit on behalf of President Dame Louise Martin of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Very well deserved. 

When we get together for next year’s AGM, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will be over and the next summer multi-sport event will be our very own – the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Preparations are already starting to ramp up and they will continue to do so – it is an extremely exciting time for Team England.