Culture secretary

Culture Secretary: Birmingham Commonwealth Games Aquatics Center will leave ‘a legacy for generations’

  • Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries visits the Sandwell Aquatics Center alongside Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds
  • Six months away from Birmingham 2022, this is a major milestone on the road to the Commonwealth Games
  • The world-class facilities will improve access to sport in the West Midlands and leave a lasting legacy for the region beyond the Games

Today Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries visited the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, a major new sporting facility which is being built to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.

Alongside Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds, the Culture Secretary applauded a milestone in the delivery of the state-of-the-art facility. Together, the competition pool and the diving pool have now been filled with 1.2 million gallons of water.

Between July 29 and August 8, the site will welcome hundreds of athletes and thousands of spectators for diving, swimming and para-swimming competitions. With 66 total medal events taking place at the venue, it will be the scene of more medal moments than any other Birmingham 2022 venue.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries said:

My ambition is to ensure that every child in the UK, whether they grow up in Sunderland or Smethwick, has access to excellent sports facilities. This world-class aquatic center will help do just that. Not only will it showcase the talents of some of the greatest swimmers and divers on the planet, but its legacy will be its use by the people of the West Midlands for generations after the Games.

Sandwell is a clear example of why the UK bids for major events and why we are so good at hosting them. Events like Birmingham 2022 can be a catalyst for improving access to sport and culture.

Birmingham 2022 will be the first major multi-sport event to feature more medals for women than men and will have the biggest para-sport program ever at the Commonwealth Games.

The Sandwell Aquatics Center – which is funded by DCMS, Sandwell Council, Sport England and other local partners – is due to be completed in the spring and will be open to the public next year.

Located four miles west of Birmingham, the center will be a clear example of the lasting legacy that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will leave behind. According to data from PHE, the estimated percentage of physically active adults in the Sandwell area is lower than the English average.

With long-term community health in mind, the site will feature the West Midlands’ first 10m diving platform, as well as a 50m swimming pool, brand new exercise facilities, football pitch and a ladies-only gym.

Birmingham 2022 board member and five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds, who visited the venue on Thursday, said:

It’s amazing to visit the Sandwell Aquatics Center and see the fantastic progress that has been made. Not only will it be an amazing venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, it will also be a wonderful facility that locals can use for years to come.

Councilor Kerrie Carmichael, head of Sandwell council, said:

As always, it’s fantastic to visit the Sandwell Aquatics Center to see how far we’ve come in completing the site.

It’s amazing to see the pools filled and you can now visualize what the venue will look like over the 10 days we host the swimming and diving events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Residents of Sandwell can now really get a feel for what the place has to offer when it opens to the public as an all-inclusive leisure centre. I look forward to seeing the final touches to the site in the coming months in preparation for the Games this summer.

The center will improve access to swimming and diving for local residents, schools and clubs, and a long-term partnership is in place with the University of Wolverhampton to maximize opportunities for local staff and students .

The government continues to support the elite, grassroots and leisure sectors with an unprecedented £1billion to ensure sport remains accessible to all throughout the pandemic. Since Sporting Future launched in 2015, Sport England has allocated over £1.5 billion to nearly 5,000 organizations in the UK.

Notes to Editors

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from July 28 to August 8, 2022 and will be the biggest ever sporting and cultural event in the city with thousands of world-class athletes and over one million spectators. Home to over 187 nationalities, Birmingham 2022 will be a home Games for all nations.

Birmingham and the West Midlands region are benefiting from an investment of £778million to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games, including £594million of central government funding.

Through increased investment, exciting infrastructure projects and inspiring sporting and cultural programs, the Games will be central to the region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus. Projects include:

  • The Birmingham Festival 2022 which will engage 2.5 million people in the UK;
  • A £24m business and tourism program is promoting the region to the Commonwealth as a great place to visit and invest,
  • The Games create new job and skills opportunities with 30,000 Games-time roles and 13,000 volunteer positions.

With an estimated global television audience of 1.5 billion people, the Games will showcase Birmingham, the West Midlands and the whole country as an incredible place to live, work, study, visit and do business.