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Birmingham gets set for the Commonwealth Games

GETTING STUCK IN: Rhianna Burrell, left, and Antwone Ferguson, second right of Perry Barr’s Arena Academy, joined Team England athletes Katrina Hart and Katie Stainton in marking the start of construction work

CONSTRUCTION WORK in preparation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has begun, which will see the Birmingham constituency of Perry Barr undergo significant changes which will eventually relive the desperate housing crisis in the surrounding areas.

The development was marked by a ceremony at the site – formerly Birmingham City University’s campus which, on completion, will be the Commonwealth Games Village, where more than 6,000 athletes and officials will reside for the summer tournament.

Members of the local community including pupils from the nearby Arena Academy were joined by dignitaries from the Games Partners – the organisations that have joined forces to deliver the Games – as well as Team England athletes to mark the occasion.

The construction work for this residential element of the village is due for completion in early 2022. The Games Village will provide development of onsite training and engagement, facility for 1,000 preemployment training places for opportunities to work on construction sites, 100 apprenticeships, 400 jobs plus 30 paid summer intern, six-week placements.

After the Games, the development will be converted into more than 1,400 homes, the first phase of a long-term regeneration plan for Perry Barr and surrounding areas that will provide 5,000 homes – required as the city’s population is forecast to increase by 150,000 in the period covering 2011-2031.

The Perry Barr constituency is home to 107,000 people, with almost half hailing from African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.

The regenerative potential of the Games is highlighted by official statistics which show 37 per cent of Perry Barr’s population live within areas that have been ranked within 20 per cent of the most deprived in England.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform an area of Birmingham that has long-needed investment,” said Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council.

“I am hugely proud that the biggest sporting event in the city’s history will act as a catalyst for the development of a new high-quality residential neighbourhood.

“This project is also offering a great boost to the local economy and the skills sector, opening up a whole host of career and training opportunities for those working on the site over the next few years.”

Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies MP, said: “This is about more than just new buildings.

“The local community will also feel the benefits of improved transport links and have more opportunities to volunteer, develop new skills or find new jobs.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our local partners to make sure we make the most of the opportunities that the Games will bring.”

The Commonwealth Games will take place from July 27– August 7, 2022.

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