The Alexander Stadium: Why its redevelopment was more than bricks and mortar

Cllr Yvonne Mosquito, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Birmingham City Council, reflects on how the rebuilt Alexander Stadium is benefitting more than just elite-level athletes…

Following the spectacular Commonwealth Games, our wonderful, newly-redeveloped Alexander Stadium rightly received praise from athletes, performers, volunteers, officials and spectators alike.

But let’s be clear – the Stadium project has been about so much more than bricks and mortar.

Don’t get me wrong, the stadium is world-class and has the wow factor but importantly it has created many things that aren’t always as visible as a shiny new venue.

From the outset the vision was clear that the redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium was about delivering a state-of-the-art sporting and community facility with real tangible legacy benefits.

And to get to that point, we used our purchasing power to ensure that we extracted maximum social value from our contracting so that local people and groups benefitted from the project – not just the firms we signed up to deliver what is now undisputedly the best athletics facility in the UK.

Commendably, the Stadium has been delivered on budget and on time – despite the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic) – but just as impressive has been the work with people across the city, not just in Perry Barr.

We’ve increased local employment and upskilled our city’s workforce, bought local, created a sustainable and eco-friendly construction site and fostered partnerships in the local community.

I won’t bore you by reeling off too many numbers, but I want to highlight some key ones: 370 new jobs including 35 apprentices have been created, 334 people have been upskilled and 50 per cent of the spend has been with local businesses.

The work in the community has been second to none through the You Matter Communities Scheme which was led by our lead contractor.

Voluntary, community and social enterprises based in Birmingham have received £80,000 of financial and in-kind investment and this is making a positive difference in our communities.

Birchfield Big Local is one example of many organisations that received a grant. With their money they are building a gazebo inside their community garden to facilitate outdoor arts and crafts activities.

West Heath Community Centre also secured funds to refurbish an art studio, to alleviate mental health issues and anxiety which isolations and lockdown have caused.

We have been bold in the way we have created a sustainable and environmentally friendly construction site and it is one that will leave a deep-rooted legacy for generations to come.

From the creation of a wildflower meadow and installing bird boxes along the canal to a rainwater harvesting system that captures and retains rainwater to clean boots and machinery – again these things don’t always get noticed.

So, whether you were able to go along to the Alexander Stadium for the Games, will be there for future events or just watch them unfold on television, remember it’s more than bricks and mortar.

And we are delighted we have been able to use our influence to ensure that is the case.

This blog was posted on 17 August 2022

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