Birmingham 2022 has pledged that 5,000 tickets for the Commonwealth Games will be available to children in care and their carers and in the English city.
Tickets will be allocated by the Birmingham Children’s Trust, and it is promised that every child in care will be able to attend the Games.
The move to guarantee complimentary tickets for the city’s young people in care was welcomed by Abba Loughran, co-chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust’s charity Bfriends.
“By making up to 5,000 free tickets available for our young people, their carers and supporters, to attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham means that they will have an incredible once in a lifetime experience,” said Loughran, who is also a corporate parenting health mentor.
“For many this will be the first ever time they will be able to experience a large-scale international sports event in their home city.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham’s children in care and care leaver community and I am honoured to share the news with my peers.
“Not only will young people be able to attend and see the Games first hand, it will be an experience in itself for our generation to be able to be part of the incredible legacy that Birmingham 2022 will create.
“It will also mean that our young people will have potential job and volunteer opportunities whilst the Games are taking place.”
Andy Couldrick, the chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust, echoed those remarks.
“I am delighted that a generous allocation of tickets is being made to enable Birmingham’s children and young people in care, care leavers, and their carers and supporters to experience this great event in their home city,” Couldrick said.
“It will offer once in a lifetime experiences and the whole event must inspire our young people to be the best they can be, whether on a sports field or in whatever path they follow.”
The chair of the Birmingham 2022 Board, John Crabtree, added: “Every day we are striving to seek what can seem the impossible – to truly deliver the Games for everyone.
“These Games are full of opportunity – from new jobs, improved skills, to volunteering, but bringing those to everyone is inevitably a challenge.
“The incredible feats and skills that will be on display next year, the transformational power of sport, will inspire, and creating the capacity to make these tickets available in this way is a small but important step for us.”
The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony will be one year away on Wednesday (July 28), and Birmingham 2022 is planning to mark the date with a free live sports festival in Centenary Square.
The Games are due to last 11 days up to August 8 2022.
West Midlands residents were recently granted first access to the ticket ballot for the Commonwealth Games, with the main ballot opening in September.
A transformed community basketball court in Summerfield Park was unveiled to coincide with the launch of the locals’ ballot.
The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward, also welcomed the pledge of 5,000 tickets for those in care and their supporters.
“We want this to be the Games for Everyone, so I’m delighted we have secured such a generous allocation of Birmingham 2022 tickets for children in care in this city thanks to the efforts of everyone at the council and the Birmingham Children’s Trust,” said Ward.
“This initiative is a great way to enable children in care to fully enjoy the 11 days of fantastic sporting action and everything else that will be going on during this once in a generation event.
“Sport has the power to inspire as well as empower and entertain, so I can think of no better way for these young people to benefit from its transformational power than by being there as the best of Commonwealth Sport is played out in our city.”
The Commonwealth Games were last held in England in Manchester in 2002, although the 2014 edition was hosted by Glasgow in Scotland.