Volunteers Collective Launch safeguards Legacy of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Volunteers

Published: Tuesday, 6th June 2023

Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week 2023 the Commonwealth Games Legacy Charity, United By 2022, has launched its volunteering legacy with the Volunteers Collective and a report on Event Volunteering.

The Volunteers Collective is a new digital match-making service that coordinates people looking for volunteering opportunities with organisations looking for volunteers, supported by Spirit of 2012. This is a moment to celebrate the contribution that volunteers make and offer new opportunities for people that want to volunteer.

At every moment and in every location, the award winning 14,000-strong Commonwealth Collective of volunteers, in their stand-out Balti Orange uniforms, were the beating heart of Birmingham 2022. The new platform will support them to continue being part of an amazing volunteering team until at least 2025. Initial invitations will go to 22,000 people.

The new Volunteers Collective portal will start by matching Games volunteers with the new events coming to the region in the wake of the Games. A report published today, the Future of Event Volunteering in West Midlands, considers the demand for volunteers and how organisers can engage and retain an inclusive volunteer workforce.

Hosted by the United By 2022 Legacy Charity, the portal will help event organisers and regional organisations, from local charities to youth sports clubs, to connect with the West Midlands’ talented volunteers. After an initial period during which Games volunteers will be given the first chance to sign up, it will then act as an open door for new entrants to volunteering, including near-miss applicants and young people who weren’t old enough to be part of the Commonwealth Collective in 2022, as well as opening up opportunities for people inspired to volunteer during the Games. 

The Volunteers Collective was developed with an initial investment from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, a development grant from Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 Olympics legacy charity, and technical development support from Rosterfy, Birmingham 2022's volunteer management software partner.

United By 2022 Chair, Sir David Thompson QPM DL said “We set out to deliver more legacy for more people in the region and this new volunteering portal is the start of a series of announcements the charity will be making over the summer. We are delighted that our first portal partnership will be with Birmingham City Council whose exciting calendar of events is a perfect reason to get the Games Volunteers back together again.”

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “There were many stars of the show during Birmingham 2022, but none bigger than the Commonwealth Collective. These people, many of them from our city, showed the world the brilliance of Birmingham. They also developed skills, qualities and experience that can now be used for the good of our region in the future. This new platform will enable them and others to play their part in supporting a wide range of projects, further strengthening the legacy of our Commonwealth Games.”

Ruth Hollis, CEO, Spirit said: “We know that events can be a fantastic way to get people into and keeping on volunteering, and we’re delighted that this platform will build on the evidence from what works from previous events, to deliver opportunities for the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands.”

HM Lord-Lieutenant Sir John Crabtree OBE CStJ said "The volunteers at Birmingham 2022 became the very definition of our 'Games for Everyone' vision, helping us across the Games landscape to reach as many people as possible. Their dedication and enthusiasm brought us all together, helping us to forge new friendships and working relationships that have already outlasted those 11 glorious days of sport. This report and the new Volunteering platform are a welcome addition for our region, cementing our ambitions to grow and maintain a long-term pool of passionate and committed volunteers."

Post-Games market testing highlighted a demand from Games Volunteers looking for further volunteering opportunities. But there is a clear gap in the City and Region for a service that matches events looking for a volunteer workforce with West Midlands based volunteers.  

Designed to dovetail with well-established local voluntary organisations like BVSC, One Walsall and Voluntary Action Coventry, the platform aims to link up the whole region, connecting existing opportunities and support services to the many thousands of people who stepped forward to play a part in the Games.

Nicola Turner MBE, Executive Director for the Legacy Charity said: "We were all blown away last summer by the enthusiasm of the thousands of volunteers that worked on the Games. Their pride and can do attitude ensured that the event was a success. Unusually for a global sporting event of this kind, many of the Commonwealth Collective were first-time Gamers, with a high proportion from Birmingham and the West Midlands.”

For those organisations who rely on volunteers, capturing this enthusiasm in the wake of the Games is essential, and for local organisations, including West Midlands Police and the Canal and Rivers Trust, attracting a new crop of volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds, was the top legacy priority.

The Games brought forward a whole new generation of volunteers, representative of local communities and from many backgrounds and age groups. From this pool of talent there is also the opportunity to grow other important volunteer groups such as the Cadets and Special Constables.

Growing the region's volunteering capacity will help to deliver the ambition to win another eight major events over the next decade and become a major event city. The new platform will support these goals to become a major event city. It is a clear demonstration of the region’s talent and readiness to serve again as a world class host city.

Background notes

United By 2022 is the Legacy Charity purpose-built for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, dedicated to ensuring the legacy continues to thrive across the West Midlands.

The Games served as a unifying force that ignited transformative change, boosted growth and remade the image of the region. The charity works to ensure that this halo effect continues, and is inclusive, reaching overlooked places and underserved communities.

With its unique know-how and local networks the charity is generating more opportunities and sharing them with the organisations working on the ground with communities across arts and culture, sport and well-being, and for the benefit of young people.

United by 2022 comprises a team of former Commonwealth Games Legacy staff, the people behind hero projects like Gen22, Bring the Power, Critical Mass and Volunteering, and generated £300m in Social Value by joining up businesses with local third sector partners. Its Board is drawn from all corners of the region, with exceptional experience in business, sport, culture and public sector service.

For more information, please visit www.unitedby2022.com

Spirit of 2012 is the London 2012 Games legacy fund. Spirit awards grants for inclusive arts, sports and volunteering activities in communities that bring people together to improve their wellbeing. The National Lottery Community Fund founded Spirit in 2013 with a £47million endowment to continue and recreate the spirit of pride, positivity and community that inspired people across the UK during the London 2012 Games. Spirit of 2012’s grant holders range from national to small, hyper-local organisations. For more information visit www.spiritof2012.org.uk

About the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games   

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which was held from 28 July until 8 August 2022, gave a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage.   

The Games has already proved to be a success for the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that have put the region on the map, and primed the infrastructure to host many more fantastic sports and cultural celebrations.   

Birmingham 2022 was the Games for Everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, and making millions of visitors feel at home during the summer of 2022.

Find out more at www.birmingham2022.com

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