Birmingham 2022 aims to reach one million children and young people across Birmingham and the West Midlands as it celebrates the launch of its Youth Programme, aimed at creating pathways that bring young people closer to the Games and allowing them to feel part of this once in a generation celebration of sport and culture.
The Bring the Power programme will give young people a voice, help them to be able to make a positive difference, and tackle life’s challenges. Birmingham 2022 celebrated young people, today, at an event at the Lighthouse youth centre, offering the chance to try out new sports, including table tennis, 3x3 basketball and 3x3 wheelchair basketball and take part in a range of creative activities. The event was organised in collaboration with Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Youth Service.
Birmingham is Europe’s youngest city with over 40% of the population under 25 and over the past two years, children and young people have experienced the impact of COVID-19 on their education, mental and physical health.
With this in mind, Bring the Power aims to widen knowledge, improve access to sports, art and culture while helping to boost confidence and resilience. By supporting children and young people to acquire new skills, Birmingham 2022 offers them a once in a generation chance to expand horizons and learn from others.
The programme is working closely with schools by providing educational resources to help pupils understand the background as well as the power of the Games. The Bring the Power programme will also deliver a range of interactive workshops to develop pupils’ knowledge and skills, through fun physical and creative activities.
Birmingham 2022 is also working with a number of youth organisations to provide a number of workshops and engagement projects. Working closely with Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Youth Service, four youth centres have been chosen as hubs to celebrate Birmingham 2022. The Lighthouse (Aston), The Factory (Longbridge), The Concord (Sparkbrook) and the Clifton Road (Sutton Coldfield) will be the heartbeat of activity and provision for young people in the community in the build-up to the Games.
In addition, Birmingham 2022 is also working with the British Council and Birmingham City Council on a number of projects including Commonwealth Connections, linking schools across the West Midlands with schools across the Commonwealth and the Common Ground Grant Scheme, which aims to encourage cultural collaboration, facilitate conversation and promote student leadership. Every secondary school in Birmingham can apply for a grant of £1,000 to support their involvement in the scheme.
Alton Brown, Head of Youth Programmes & Policy at Birmingham 2022 said: “Young people, in particular, have really suffered from the impact of Covid-19 over the past two years. Through our Bring the Power programme we are creating opportunities for them to connect with the Games and feel inspired and empowered by sport, art and culture.“
We are very proud to be working together with Birmingham City Council’s Youth Service to engage young people, especially as they already hold incredible relationships with youth workers across the city. It’s been amazing to see so many children and young people engaged so far in Birmingham 2022. We can’t wait to celebrate the next generation of changemakers.”
Jadieal Millwood, Senior Youth Worker at Birmingham City Council said: “Birmingham Youth Service feel very proud to be able to work with the Birmingham 2022 team to bring the power to young people, just as the youth celebration event has brought young people together from across Birmingham, to take part in different Commonwealth Games sports in a safe and electrifying atmosphere at The Lighthouse Young People’s Centre.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We want to make Birmingham 2022 the Games for everyone. This fantastic youth programme shows the many exciting ways young people can be a part of this unforgettable event taking place on their own doorstep. Bring the Power will help children across the region to discover new passions and connect with the Commonwealth.”
Commonwealth Games Federation Athlete Advisory Commission Chair Brendan Williams said: “The Commonwealth Games and our inspirational athletes have a unique ability to inspire young people to be positive agents of change. The Bring the Power programme is a fantastic initiative to harness the impact of the Games to engage with and support young people. It is fully aligned with the CGF vision and values and I have no doubt it will leave another lasting positive legacy for the young people of Birmingham and the West Midlands.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I have always said that as a region, we must make sure Commonwealth Games has a lasting impact beyond 11 days of sporting spectacle – as exciting as that will of course be. A vital part of that impact will be what we make happen for our young people. The Bring the Power programme will enable them to interact with the Games drawing inspiration from the worlds of art, sport & culture. Birmingham 2022 represents a once in a generation opportunity for young people to come together and soak up the spirit of the Games and we have to help them take full advantage of that.”
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Galal Yafai, who is working with Birmingham 2022 on Bring the Power, said: “Boxing gave me independence, strength and determination at a young age. Sport has the power to bring people together, break down barriers and connect with other people and it’s brilliant to see Birmingham 2022 making this happen in my hometown.”