Creating Commonwealth legacy in Birmingham

19 December 2022

Together, we’re embarking on 5 community projects in 2023, across five wards with the greatest levels of inactivity and low socio-economic mobility, to improve the quality and access to sport and physical activity for the local community.

Birmingham has always been one of VIY’s heartlands, following the first VIY ‘hub’ at Shard End Youth Centre from 2015 over four years, and improving community spaces for physical activity with projects at the likes of Hall Green Boxing Club and Saathi House.

Ciara Grogan, VIY Programme Director for Sport, said:

“We’re delighted to be back in Birmingham and contributing towards the legacy of the Commonwealth Games. Bringing together our model of boosting young people’s skills whilst transforming community places, altogether with our experience in renovating hundreds of spaces for physical activity through Sport England, we’re ready to help get Birmingham moving through its city motto ‘Forward’, with an approach mirroring the message of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, ‘Be Bold’.”

Laura Kerrigan for Sport Birmingham, said:

“Our first project with VIY, completed in November 2022, was at Birmingham Paddle Club, based at Ackers Adventure in Sparkbrook, an area where activity levels are lower than the national average. They’ve wanted to start a Paddle Club for ages, an alternative physical activity for the local community in a landlocked city, but haven’t had anywhere to effectively store their canoes and set sail. 

With the help of 15 volunteers from local organisations including St Basils, Edge Academy and Ashiana Community Project, plus two marvellous VIY Midlands Mentors, storage has been built from scratch, inside a shipping container on-site, right by the water’s edge.”

This project has been supported with match-funding from Sport England and British Canoeing, plus material donations from Travis Perkins Stirchley and GAP Tool Hire.

Andy Train from the Birmingham Paddlesports Hub at Ackers told us how much the works mean to them:

The works VIY have completed have furthered our ambitions to expand the Paddle Club. Without the storage they have created, we would struggle to accommodate more members, as we simply would not be able to keep our canoes safe. Now we can finally invite more of the local community to join us on the canals, doing something active right on their doorstep. Thanks to all of the local young people who helped transform our storage container!”

Steve and the team at Ackers Adventure were also so kind as to give our young volunteers and partners a free archery session to thank them for their hard work with us on the tools to help their Paddle Club take shape!

Two images side by side showing the inside of a metal shipping contained. The left hand image shows it empty, with one canoe sat at the front. The right hand image shows it following the work of VIY, creating handmade wooden storage for canoes

Before/After: new storage for the Birmingham Paddlesports Hub at Ackers Adventure, Birmingham

Two individuals pictured stood safe distance away from an archery target. One male is instructing another individual, both hold a wooden crossbow.