Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Denise Lewis OBE and leading figures from across the Midlands came together yesterday (Wednesday 14th March) to celebrate Birmingham’s recent Commonwealth Games win – with the track and field star hailing the Games as an opportunity to create a legacy for the future.
The celebrations formed part of a special event hosted by Midlands UK – a delegation of more than 70 public and private sector partners from across the region – at global property and real estate show MIPIM (13th-16th March, Cannes, France).
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Birmingham City Council Leader Cllr Ian Ward and former Wasps player Chris Bell joined West Bromwich-born Denise Lewis OBE for a panel discussion on the importance of the Games for driving economic success and regeneration in the region as part of the event.
Birmingham was officially named as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in December 2017 – the biggest sporting event to be awarded in England since the London Olympics in 2012.
Speaking at the event, Denise Lewis OBE, President of Commonwealth Games England, commented:
“Getting the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic result for Birmingham and for the Midlands as a whole. All of the eyes of the Commonwealth will be watching Birmingham as a host – not only during the Games, but in the lead up and beyond.
“It’s not just about having a fantastic Games – it’s also about the culture and experience. It’s about coming together and showing the world what Birmingham has to offer, and creating a legacy for the future.
“The Games will inspire young people to choose a life in sport – and the region is prepared to produce the next generation of champions. We have the facilities, and we now have the perfect opportunity with the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Between 500,000 and one million people are expected to descend on Birmingham over the 11-day sporting event in the summer of 2022 – and the Games are anticipated to generate a boost of more than half a billion pounds to the West Midlands region.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, commented:
“The Commonwealth Games is a real opportunity for the city going forward. We’re expecting a half a billion pound boost to the economy, and we very much want local businesses in Birmingham and the wider region to benefit from that.
“Between half a million and a million visitors are expected during the 11 days of the games, providing a real opportunity for us to promote the West Midlands as a destination for people from around the world.
“I’m really encouraged by the way the Games has pulled together both the private and the public sector with a sense of purpose: that we have a real opportunity here and that we can do something to reposition the city on the world stage.
“I’m very confident that, together, we will make the most of this opportunity for Birmingham and for the wider region.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“The Commonwealth Games provides the opportunity to showcase to the world the confidence and vibrancy of a post-Brexit West Midlands.
“In the next few years, we will see investment in new transport infrastructure, new housing and new sporting facilities so that we can put on a show that does the Commonwealth, the country and the region proud.
“Just this week we secured £350m from the Government to deliver housing which, in part, will support the creation of the athletes’ village at Perry Barr which will later become a lasting legacy for the city and the region when it becomes permanent housing post-Games.
“We now have four years of hard work to prepare for 2022 – I know it is going to be a fantastic spectacle and a celebration of everything great about our region.”
The celebration was part of a programme of more than 50 events hosted by Midlands UK at global property and real estate show MIPIM.
This week, the region has been presenting details of a £10 billion portfolio of investment opportunities to the exhibition’s 24,000 attendees, which include investors, property agents, developers and the media from more than 100 countries.