Leader's blog: Celebrating the beating heart of Birmingham

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reflects on how the Birmingham Awards 2021 celebrated the 'beating heart' of our city.

Billed as a celebration of ‘the beating heart of Birmingham’ the event served as a timely reminder that, though we undoubtedly face challenges as a city, this is an amazing place to live, work and learn.

As I told the assembled guests, I'm proud to say that I was born in Birmingham. I grew up here and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. You could say I'm somewhat biased of course, but I know plenty of people who have chosen to live, work and build their lives here are just as passionate and enthusiastic about the city.

That's because Birmingham is a great, creative, inclusive and above all friendly, supportive city. It's a city that gets under your skin, and as last Saturday's ceremony reflected, a city that rises to the toughest of challenges.

We've seen the very best of our city over the last 18 months.

The contribution from community and voluntary groups, from ordinary Brummies, from the council and its many private and public sector partners has been nothing short of outstanding.

  • The businesses that kept going in the most challenging of circumstances
  • The school staff that supported our children and young people - adapting to (and making a success of) remote learning.
  • The charities - new and old - that supported our most vulnerable citizens.
  • And of course, the health and care professionals, the superheroes who continue to help us through the pandemic.

The Team Birmingham approach and the community spirit we've seen in every neighbourhood and community has shown the world that this is a city of selflessness, love, and compassion. It's also a city that refuses to be beaten and the Birmingham Awards were a celebration of that indomitable spirit.

Of course, there are many more unsung organisations or individuals that also deserve recognition. But the fact remains that the award winners and indeed every individual and organisation shortlisted for the awards has contributed so much to the many things that make this a great city.

So, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. You're true Birmingham heroes and I salute you.

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