As the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, our work involved bringing in a wide variety of experience from across our different services to support Birmingham 2022 including via secondments. In this video, Shah begum discusses her secondment to Birmingham 2022 as projects assistant to the chairman where she worked on the legacy of the Games.


Shah Begum: Gowling WLG are the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and it's given us an amazing opportunity to get involved with the Games. I am on secondment to the Games Organising Committee (OC), back at Gowling WLG I am a senior construction paralegal. Here at the Games, I am the project assistant to the chairman of the Organising Committee. I'm based in the Legacy Integration team, so I'm using all of my transferable skills that I had at Gowling WLG, such as stakeholder management, communication skills, drafting skills to really make the most of this opportunity here at the Games.

I look after all of the things that we left behind for local residents after the games have rolled out town. So things like what will happen to our venues, making sure that they're well used and well loved, looking after our amazing volunteer workforce that we will have at Games time and just finding a routine for everybody within the community that wants to celebrate the Games being in the region.

One of my favourite projects is one is our Gen 22 project, which is a project that aims to bring opportunities to young people who face barriers to accessing things like the Games, volunteering or some of the jobs and skills opportunities that we have.

Maybe because they're a young carer or they have a criminal record, that type of thing. So we've gone out to them and said, "Right you can get involved in youth social action, you can make a difference in your community, you can do something positive".

And then I've been involved in kind of curating what the wraparound support for these young people is like. It's great that they do the social action, but we're also registering them for free on the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, which in itself is like an amazing thing. We're giving them a whole package of incentives, including tickets to see a Games event, merch, and just making them feel special and building up their confidence again. Everything that I've done here has been great, you know, working with communities on Sandwell Aquatics Centre, for example, which is in a really deprived area of Sandwell.

It's a facility that we're going out to the community and saying, "Yes, it's here for the Games, but this is your facility. We're here for 11 days. After that, it belongs to you. What do you want to see here?". For example, we're working with women from ethnically diverse communities in that area who really want swimming lessons, but they face barriers because, first of all, they would like female only swim sessions, which means you need female lifeguards, of which there are a shortage.

And if English isn't your first language, how do you communicate with a female lifeguard who might not speak your language? So we've gone out into the community and said, "Right, who would like to train to be a lifeguard? Let's pay for your training for you. You'll have an amazing time at the Games, volunteering at this amazing pool. And then you'll have a job with Sandwell Leisure Trust to actually deliver lifeguarding and these female only sessions". Building that capacity in the community - that's been another project that I have been really chuffed about getting involved in.

This weekend we had 50 young people in here at the OC offices in the HQ to ask them what their youth social action project would be if we were to give them up to £10,000 worth of funding. Some of the ideas were amazing and it was really lovely to see the young people from when they first came in with us at the weekend - they didn't really know anybody. They didn't really know how to present themselves. We put them through a series of workshops to give them skills on budgeting, raising their confidence, marketing, presenting their pitch. And you wouldn't recognize them for the same young people they were. They were just so confident, so buzzing. They'd made friends with each other. They were really positive about what the outcomes for their future might be.

I'm really looking forward to seeing some of those projects delivered in the community.

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