Birmingham’s diversity proves to be its strength once again

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reflects on this week’s census news, and Birmingham’s recognition at the Peace and Sport Awards...

This week, Census data revealed that Birmingham is one of the first ‘super diverse’ cities in the United Kingdom, where citizens from ethnic minorities make up more than half of the population. As my colleague Cllr John Cotton reflected earlier this week, Birmingham is famous for the warm welcome that it offers to all who come to our city.

When Birmingham became a city in 1889, people from across the country were flocking to the city to live and work. Since then, we have welcomed communities from across the world who have decided to make Birmingham their home.

From the Huguenots fleeing persecution in the 18th Century, Eastern European Jews and the Irish a century later, through to the African Caribbeans and people from South Asia who play such a prominent part in our city today, there are Brummies that can trace their roots back to virtually every country in the world.

I'm proud to say that Birmingham has become home to people of every colour, creed and nationality and our city is far richer as a consequence.

Birmingham has been recognised as a City of Sanctuary, and last week it was officially named as a Local Authority of Sanctuary, which recognises how we are working to support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants arriving in Birmingham, helping them to settle in local communities.

This week has also seen Birmingham City Council recognised with Institution of the Year status at the Peace and Sport Awards 2022 for our Be Bold Be Birmingham community engagement and legacy programme for the Commonwealth Games.

The award organisers noted that the Be Bold Be Birmingham programme helped to strengthen the connections between different communities in Birmingham, sustaining their involvement in the Games and beyond.

The Games were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Birmingham, and through a £6 million community fund, we awarded more than 300 small grants to grassroots projects, helping to improve physical and mental well-being and reducing loneliness and social isolation.

The fund also supported 106 projects through the Creative City programme, engaging under-represented communities in the city’s cultural activities, linking culture and sport in new and exciting ways.

We all remember with pride the way in which people enjoyed and celebrated the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in our fantastic city. A global audience saw that we could host major events with a style and warmth that is second to none – but even more important was the way it brought people in all parts of the city together in a way we hadn’t seen before.

Through our engagement activity and our legacy fund, we have built a platform for our communities and neighbourhoods to look forward with optimism. This is a Golden Decade of Opportunity for the city, and it is a tribute to everyone involved with delivering our Proud Host City Games activity that we are now being recognised for our efforts through international awards.

This has been an important week for Birmingham, and one where we have shown that, once again, our diversity is our greatest strength.

This blog was posted on 2 December 2022

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