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How office furniture helped the Birmingham Commonwealth Games leave a positive legacy in the city

Building a temporary event that caters for 1.5 million attendees hosted across 14 West Midlands venues and one London space requires an awful lot of staff to pull it together in a short amount of time. As with the temporary nature of the event, the offices are temporary in nature too.

Set up in the heart of Birmingham city centre, the Organising Committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games took over a number of offices in Brindley Place. With sustainability in mind, the facilities team worked with the previous tenants of the building to acquire furniture, looking to second hand options for anything additional required. No new items were bought.

Once the Games were gone, having returned the offer of furniture to the future tenants, there were a few items that went unwanted and that’s where Event Cycle stepped in. In keeping with the community connection with the Games, we worked to distribute leftover items such as whiteboards, tables, chairs, white goods, shelves, radios and floor mats to 36 charities, community groups and social enterprises in the Midlands area.

The causes helped by the donations made included financial vulnerability, homelessness, social inclusion, education and sports and fitness. Here are some of the highlights:

Sports in the community

5UP CIC was formed in January 2022 in Handsworth, one of the most deprived wards in the city of Birmingham. Fundamentally the site is a gym, generating income but income for a social purpose. The team at 5UP work with schools, colleges, further education, and social services engaging with children and young people who are excluded from mainstream education and those from disadvantaged backgrounds that may be at risk from gang involvement and knife crime.

As part of their work they are setting up a socially focused gym, 9UP CIC, in the new venue they’ve just taken over next door. The MMA sessions will be free to all attendees and the equipment provided by the Games, including hand sanitisers, water dispensers and boilers, bins and microwaves will help to fit out the area at a reduced cost, saving funds for their all important work with young people.

A female focused charity was another organisation to gain physical donations from the Commonwealth Games. Saheli Hub is a small charity that works across the inner city of Birmingham working with women (As a priority group). Ninety-one per cent of their participants live in the poorest areas of the city and 94% are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Saheli supports them to become physically active, take up fitness and sport to manage their long term health conditions. They help reduce isolation/loneliness through social groups and lower level physical pursuits to get them moving and stay active. They also offer training and development sessions to support them to become economically savvy.

Saheli Hub has recently secured a new site to deliver all their amazing indoor and outdoor activities. Thanks to Event Cycle and the Games they have received a number of items to be used in the welcome lobby, kitchen, and training room. This will help them to move in and be operational straight away.

Growing influence

Whilst we work with most organisations directly, we often find that there are many community organisations that support each other.

Through our connections in Birmingham, we were linked to the Birmingham Youth Sports Academy (BYSA) via 5UP CIC. The BYSA started at Small Heath Park with only a few kids from the local area that they encouraged to get into football. It grew over a period of a few months and thereafter the project expanded and moved to Small Heath Leisure Centre which has become the HUB of the BYSA project.

This summer they have expanded to a new location in a rarely used park and building facility in between Sparkbrook and Small Heath. A forgotten park with no benches, no basketball hoops in the court and graffiti all over the building.

The BYSA have taken this over and are on a mission to make it a sporting destination for deprived children in the area. Anwar, the brains behind BYSA has dedicated his time and energy into transforming the space into a true recreational area for everyone.

He started by installing new basketball hoops, bringing football goals to the field and putting on activities throughout the summer, attended by over 100 children at a time. With dreams to expand the space to include an outdoor gym, cricket batting nets, badminton, volleyball and rounders his budgets don't quite match up. But that’s where initiatives like the donations from the Commonwealth Games come in.

Saving a sports hub thousands of pounds

To buy the AstroTurf donated to the project, the cost would have been over £3500, an enormous amount for such a small organisation.

Add to that whiteboards, tables and chairs and the amount of value added to BYSA goes up. The donations help the charity to expand what they do, furnish their spaces at little cost and save money for the most important part of what they do, the services and activities they offer.

And last but not least we have Peak Empower, a charity dedicated to decreasing social isolation through recreational activities. Not only this but they work with the community to support those most in need with mental health services, caring for carers and providing hot meals when individuals can’t afford them.

Before the donation from the Games, the meals were taken away but now they can be enjoyed in comfort and in company because we’ve filled their entire hall full of tables to seat their meal recipients.

The rest of the organisations that received goods from the Games included sports clubs, scouts, community groups, hospices, research charities and more. They will use the donations to replace broken equipment, decorate local triathlon routes, furnish back offices, new buildings and community hubs as well as new homes for veterans.

Want to know how else we can help your event make a social impact?

Drop us an email today eventcycleuk@gmail.ocm


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