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Case study: What volunteering at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games meant to me - Claire’s Story


I was lucky enough to be chosen last year as  one of the volunteers who helped bring the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to over one billion people worldwide, and to the five million who actually attended the sporting events between 28 July and 8 August.

I found myself among 14,000 volunteers for the largest sporting and cultural event ever held in the region and the biggest in the UK for a decade. 

I applied to volunteer in October 2021 alongside 41,000 others, and attended an interview at the Birmingham Library. When I heard I had been successful, I felt very honoured (and slightly amazed!) to have been chosen to join the Commonwealth Collective.

We all received extensive training and support, and I was allocated to be part of the Event Services Team at the cycling time trials, held at West Park in Wolverhampton and the mountain biking at Cannock Chase, where I helped to ensure that spectators had the best experience possible.  This involved directing people to the best spots for viewing the events, showing them where to find much-needed suncream and phone chargers, helping with lost and found items and much more.  I high-fived so many people with my foam hand, I lost count!

I was also fortunate to be invited to the rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony, where we first laid eyes on the raging bull which has captured the imagination of so many people in Brum and beyond.  My fellow volunteers were a fantastic bunch, so enthusiastic and friendly, and everywhere we went in uniform, people wanted to thank us, talk to us and ask us questions!

Prior to the Games, as part of the Network’s engagement  with communities, my colleagues and I also attended a number of Baton Relay and Commonwealth Games Festival events around the region to spread the word about the research taking place locally, 

It was a great opportunity to debunk some myths about research as well as give people more information about how they could get involved.

As well as being a once in a lifetime experience, I’m sure the Games will have a fantastic legacy for health in the West Midlands, which as an NHS employee makes me very proud.

I clocked up over 50,000 steps during my shifts, with some pretty early starts, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.