£1.4m Commonwealth Games legacy cash boost for Sandwell

Commonwealth Games legacy cash is being invested directly back into Sandwell to harness the sporting success of last year’s Games and get more local people active.

The West Midlands Combined Authority is providing £1.4 million to Sandwell Council to support Sandwell Aquatics Centre’s transition into a community leisure centre that can deliver a long-lasting Games legacy for the borough and the wider region.

This new investment from the WMCA - through the £70 million Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund – backs the work being done by the WMCA, Sandwell Council and all local authority partners to use the hugely successful Games as a catalyst to improve the health and wellbeing of local people in an area which has the highest levels of physical inactivity in the region.

The Aquatics Centre was the only brand-new, purpose-built venue for the Games, and hosted more than 60 medal events across 11 days of swimming, para-swimming and diving.

Since it opened to the public this summer, local people have been making more than 15,000 visits every week to use its state-of-the-art facilities, which include a world-class 50-metre Olympic-size swimming pool, dive tower and pool, as well as activity studios, sport halls, fitness gyms, indoor cycling studio, and dry diving centre.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), with Ellie Simmonds OBE at the opening of Sandwell Aquatics Centre. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said:

“It’s wonderful to see so many local people from right across our region making the most of the fantastic facilities at Sandwell Aquatics Centre - learning to swim, participating in team sports and joining in with fitness activity classes.

“Having a venue of international standard open to residents on their doorstep will positively impact physical and mental health for many years to come. That’s why it’s great news that we’ve been able to make this investment in Sandwell Aquatics Centre - drawing from our £70m legacy fund to support its transition from Games venue into valuable community asset.

“We negotiated successfully with Government to ensure we retained the underspend from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games budget and that is what has enabled us to make these investments.

"This is how we deliver an enduring legacy in the months and years ahead - well beyond the sporting spectacle we saw last summer.”

The Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund was established thanks to the region’s effective organisation and delivery of the Games last summer which meant the sporting festival came in under budget.

Following discussions with the Mayor and the WMCA, the UK Government agreed to invest the £70 million underspend back into the region to enhance the legacy of the Games and ensure the benefits continue their positive impact for years to come.

Further announcements will be made shortly about how more local people will benefit from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund.


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