Diverse communities ignored by Birmingham 2022 organisers say Birmingham Race Impact Group

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The 2022 Commonwealth Games, known as Birmingham 2022 which is due to kick off on 28th July at the revamped Alexander Stadium, have "largely ignored" the city's diverse communities, an independent panel has reported. 

According to the BBC, these groups have been "shut out" of direct involvement, despite inclusivity being key to bringing the Games to the city, Birmingham Race Impact Group found. 

A preoccupation with delivering infrastructure and not winning their support may well become an "undesirable" Games legacy, it added.

Birmingham 2022 said it was now urgently considering the recommendations of the panel.

Birmingham Race Impact Group (BRIG) published its findings recently just weeks before the Games begin in and around Birmingham on 28 July.

Its report comes after organisers were criticised last summer that not enough had been done to engage with diverse groups.

Back in April, after a meeting between organisers and local communities, Metro Mayor Andy Street said there was a "shared endeavour" to make sure people benefit from the Games long term.

BRIG said members assessed and evaluated the organising committee and other institutions in the city on their progress in delivering their race equality strategy.

Earlier this year, Jatinder Singh, president of Guru Nanak Gurdwara, said requests to be involved were ignored.

"Lack of evidence of any meaningful progress leads us to conclude that the questions raised by communities of Birmingham remain largely unanswered and unresolved," Jagwant Johal, from BRIG, said.

"The report card seriously challenges the diversity credentials sought and projected by B2022 in providing a series of recommendations to the Commonwealth Games OC [organising committee] and its delivery partners."

The report said communities, "many with deep and unique Commonwealth connections", will feel that they have been "largely ignored" and organisers have not won their support.

"The conclusions of the report card suggest that the OC has been more preoccupied with its internal delivery structures than with winning the trust, confidence, and support of Birmingham's diverse communities.

The failure by leaders to "transparently or convincingly to start to address deep and persistent racial inequalities in the city... may well become one of the more undesirable legacies of the Commonwealth Games".

The opening ceremony is due to take place on 28 July at the revamped Alexander Stadium.

In a statement, Birmingham 2022 said equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) was integral to delivering a successful Games, and through its proactive engagement programme with local communities, "we recognised there were areas in which we had more work to do to deliver on all our EDI goals and therefore took steps to make improvements, one of which was to work with BRIG".

Over 41,000 people applied to be volunteers, 6,000 people have already benefited from skills training, and over one hundred community organisations have received funding from the Creative City Grants programme, the spokesperson said.

"Whilst we are disappointed with the conclusions reached within the report, we value BRIG's input and will carefully consider their recommendations, so that we maximise every opportunity to benefit as many people as possible from all the communities across Birmingham and the West Midlands," they added.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXII Commonwealth Games and is commonly known as Birmingham 2022.

It is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth that is scheduled to be held in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 8 August 2022.