Commonwealth Games success shows the legacy sporting events can leave: Stuart Andrew

We know that sport contributes to physical and mental wellbeing, reduces loneliness and provides economic benefits. The UK has a fantastic reputation as a host of major events, and we must use these to inspire future generations.

I, like many others, was inspired by the success of the Lionesses at EURO 2022 and the FIFA World Cup 2023.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport honoured their success with £25 million of government funding for the Lionesses Futures Fund, designed to increase access for women and girls.

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The UK Government remains committed to building our reputation for hosting major events, and it is important that we continue to host sporting events that inspire the next generation and build lasting memories.

Stuart Andrew is a Sports Minister and Yorkshire MP. PIC: ParliamentStuart Andrew is a Sports Minister and Yorkshire MP. PIC: Parliament
Stuart Andrew is a Sports Minister and Yorkshire MP. PIC: Parliament

We have some magnificent sportspeople, and world-leading experts, who organise and deliver these events to be enjoyed across the globe.

I saw first hand at the Rugby League World Cup the unique impact that sporting events can have on communities - using sport to reach people across the UK.

This includes not only the mega events we have in the coming years, such as the Rugby World Cup 2025, the men’s and women’s T20 Cricket World Cups in 2026 and 2030, UEFA EURO 2028 across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and of course the European Athletics Championships in Birmingham in 2026 - but also events like the West Midlands Urban Sports event in Wolverhampton later this year.

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I am proud to announce the significant economic and social benefits delivered by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at ‘one year on’.

An incredible 6.9 million people engaged with this event in 2022, including spectators, athletes, volunteers and employees. The event delivered approximately £1.2 billion Gross Value Added to the UK economy, with nearly half that in the West Midlands alone, creating thousands of jobs in this region.

In addition, the Games has contributed nearly £80 million in social value, with well over £150 million more expected to be generated longer term. This is a result of the skills and apprenticeships delivered through Games programmes, alongside community use of Games facilities at the revamped Alexander Stadium and the wonderful Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

I am also delighted to see the £70 million ‘Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund’ continuing to reinvest in projects for communities across the region.

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This fund provides a welcome boost to ensure the Games legacy continues to be felt in this region and beyond for many years to come.

It is clear that mega sporting events can have truly transformational impacts on individuals, communities and host nations, and it is vital that we continue to support them in the years ahead.

As we look to the future, I am extremely excited to build our pipeline into the 2030s and beyond. Our revised UK hosting strategy sets us on that clear path.

It is so important to make sure that as we look to the future, we are innovative. I am grateful to all the work of those here today in making that happen.

Stuart Andrew is a Sports Minister and Yorkshire MP. This is an edited version of a recent speech at SportAccord in Birmingham.

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