6th November 2023 

Today marks a significant milestone in our commitment to building stronger, healthier, and more connected communities in the West Midlands. We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Inclusive Communities Fund, following months of careful design and development – that will see us distribute £9 million of Commonwealth Games legacy funding to grassroots projects. These projects will promote physical and mental well-being, foster community cohesion, and ensure that the positive legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games reverberates throughout our region.

This unprecedented fund, the largest of its kind, is now open for applications from community groups, charities, not-for-profit organisations, schools, and colleges. The Inclusive Communities Fund is a testament to our collective commitment to create a lasting positive impact across the region, that aims to improve the lives of local people and help them to thrive.

The Fund has become available through a collaboration between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Heart of England Community Foundation, and United By 2022, the Official Games Legacy Charity.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, emphasised the significance of the fund, stating:

“With this new fund, we’re putting a significant amount of cash directly into the hands of local people in communities right across our region for them to decide exactly how to spend. Right from the moment the West Midlands was chosen to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we were clear that the Games must leave a lasting legacy at grassroots level far beyond the summer of sporting spectacle. This money shows we’re delivering on that objective. This funding – combined with the £1million environment fund that we’ve also recently announced – means there is now £10million being put to work drawn from the Games Budget underspend that we negotiated with Government to be allowed to retain for the benefit of locally led projects that tangibly improve the lives of local people. Whether that’s better facilities in neighbourhoods, events that help forge new friendships, or activities that improve our collective health and wellbeing, I would encourage as many people as possible to step forward and bid for their share of this cash. I look forward to seeing lives changed for the better in the months and years ahead.”

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“Last year’s Commonwealth Games were a huge success for the region, and we’ve committed to investing in the West Midlands long after the final medal was won. This £9 million Government funding will be spent on innovative projects to boost physical and mental health and wellbeing, supporting future generations. Our sports strategy sets out our plans to get 3.5 million children and adults active by 2030, and the Inclusive Communities Fund will go a long way towards making this happen.”

Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, the WMCA’s portfolio lead for inclusive communities, and leader of Sandwell Council, said:

“The Inclusive Communities Fund is a one-off opportunity to make positive changes to our communities for the benefit of many generations. It will make a significant contribution to the combined authority’s commitment to addressing disparities and inequalities that sadly we know exist across the region by improving physical assets and fostering community connections that will ensure people have the best opportunity to thrive in the places where they live and work.”

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said:

“We are thrilled to be delivering the Inclusive Communities Fund, working alongside the West Midlands Combined Authority and United By 2022 to make a real impact on our communities. This fund represents a fantastic opportunity to create positive, lasting change, and we look forward to supporting local organisations in their efforts to make a meaningful difference across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.”

Nicola Turner, Chief Executive of United By 2022, said:

“As the official custodians of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games legacy, United By 2022 are excited to be partnered with the Heart of England Community Foundation and the West Midlands Combined Authority, to support local communities to access the new Inclusive Communities Fund. We want to offer communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-served, an opportunity to successfully apply for a slice of the £9 million Commonwealth Games Legacy funding.”

The Inclusive Communities Fund was inspired by the momentum generated by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It aims to strengthen the achievements prompted by the Games, offering community organisations access to new funding to make a difference for the people they work with. The Fund will serve as a catalyst to address inequalities, forge deeper connections between individuals and organisations, and continue the legacy of the Games.

Grants will be available for projects that contribute to the four core missions of bringing people together, improving health and well-being, helping the region to grow, and putting the region on the map. The fund encompasses three key themes: physical activity and sport, mental health and well-being, and arts, culture, and creativity.

The Fund is made possible by the UK Government through the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). It will be overseen by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and administered by the Heart of England Community Foundation, the leading, independent grant-making body in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. United By 2022, the Games’ Official Legacy Charity, will partner with the Community Foundation to deliver community engagement activities and support organisations in successfully applying to the Fund.

Applications are now open for four types of grants, ranging from Small Grants (£500 to £15,000) to Large Grants (£75,001 to £300,000), with all grants fully spent by December 2024. This fund represents an unprecedented opportunity for organisations and communities to make a positive and lasting impact in the West Midlands.

For more information about the Commonwealth Community Fund and how to apply, please visit our website at heartofenglandcf.co.uk/icfund.