Hundreds of young people from the West Midlands will gain access to new volunteering and employment opportunities as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – thanks to over £700,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The Games are expected to create up to 35,000 jobs and around 13,000 volunteering opportunities for local people.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has made a successful bid for National Lottery funding to support more than 800 young people across the region.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will help the young people to learn new skills and secure jobs. The project will seek to engage with a minimum of 800 disadvantaged young people, to support them to access volunteering and employment opportunities generated by the Games.

The fund will be overseen by 20 community-based organisations working close to Games venues in Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. The outreach activity will support local young people aged 18 to 30 who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment, and will particularly target those who live in priority wards.

National Lottery funding will give young people dedicated, personalised support to enable them to become Games time volunteers, as well as helping them to access one of the many thousands of roles created by the event. Support will continue beyond the Games to ensure that the young people can successfully build on their experience and secure long-term employment opportunities.

The WMCA has developed the programme as part of the Commonwealth Jobs and Skills Academy, which is driving skills and employment opportunities for local people, through the Games.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I’d like to thank The National Lottery Community Fund for enabling us to provide targeted support for young people and communities who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“This funding is vital for people who are out of work or worried about their future to gain access to work and volunteering opportunities from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Making sure that the jobs created by the Games go to local people is a key part of my jobs plan to help more than 100,000 residents into employment over the next two years, and is also critical to ensuring the Commonwealth Games is a Games for everyone.”

Nicola Thurbon, senior head of regional grant making in the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Commonwealth Jobs and Skills Academy during what is a really exciting time for the region. Thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £30 million a week for good causes, local young people will develop new skills, empowering them to secure work and volunteering opportunities from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and beyond. We’re looking forward to seeing the amazing impact this funding will have on the lives of young people across the West Midlands.”

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We need to ensure that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games bring lasting benefits not only for the city, but the rest of the region.

“Birmingham 2022 offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for around 13,000 volunteers who reflect the diverse communities of the West Midlands to be the face of the Games. It’s great news that the WMCA has secured funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to help disadvantaged young people make the most of this opportunity.”

The confirmed community organisations providing the outreach work are:

  • The Albion Foundation (Sandwell)
  • Colebridge Trust (North Solihull)
  • Compass Support (Castle Vale)
  • Ideal for All (Sandwell and Dudley)
  • Living Well Consortium (Birmingham and Solihull)
  • Positive Youth Foundation (Coventry)
  • Street League (Birmingham)
  • Suited for Success (Birmingham)
  • Witton Lodge Community Association (Perry Common)

Chet Parmar, CEO of the Colebridge Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with the WMCA on a project that directly links to the Commonwealth Games. We have worked with young people for many years and it is hugely satisfying to know that any work to raise aspirations, improve attainment and help young people to secure employment and volunteering opportunities has the potential to make a long-lasting positive impact. Disadvantage comes in many forms and our wider work aims to tackle these inequalities; we advocate the ideas of inclusive growth and opportunities for all.” 

The Commonwealth Jobs and Skills Academy is an umbrella brand for all employment and skills programmes linked to the Games and was set up by the WMCA, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham 2022, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education, Jobcentre Plus and the Department for Work and Pensions. Other partners include local authorities across the region, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and further education colleges.

For more information visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/commonwealth-games-jobs-and-skills-academy. The programme will start this summer and run to the end of next year.

Learn more about applying for funding with The National Lottery Community Fund here: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/thinking-of-applying-for-funding 

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