£200,000 has been awarded to the north Staffordshire charity Caudwell Children to create a new art and culture project linked to the Commonwealth Games, following a collaboration between Olympic legacy funder Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022.
The project, entitled All Roads Lead to Alexander, will deliver music workshops for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families in Birmingham and Sandwell.
The children’s charity will work in partnership with multi-instrumentalist group, K’antu Ensemble, to deliver the workshops to 1,000 people, with around 80 having the opportunity to tell their story of links to Commonwealth nations and territories through musical storytelling sessions.
These workshops will culminate in a series of creative outputs including a performance during the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme, a world-class arts festival running from March to September 2022, alongside the sports programme. The cultural programme will include new work, installations, exhibitions, performances and major events across the West Midlands.
In addition, the project will run leadership workshops aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting families to feel more connected in their community.
Caudwell Children, which is headquartered in Newcastle-under-Lyme, aims to transform the lives of disabled children across the UK by providing practical and emotional support.
The charity is one of three organisations to receive a share of £600,000 from the West Midlands Challenge Fund, a collaboration between Spirit of 2012, the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Funder, and Birmingham 2022. Its aim is to help build strong communities, improve wellbeing and empower inclusive participation in the arts.
Susie Rodgers MBE, non-executive director, Spirit of 2012 and Paralympic gold medallist, said:
“Large scale sporting and cultural events have the power to bring people together in hope and celebration; I know this through my own personal and professional experience as a Paralympic athlete, competing in and experiencing both London 2012 and Rio 2016.
It is a privilege to be able to fund Caudwell Children’s project which will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to come together to celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, their Commonwealth stories and be part of the biggest celebration of sport and culture in this country since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I know the true value that sport has, particularly in changing attitudes, unlocking what is possible, and demonstrating how we are all interconnected. That is why I am excited to see these brilliant projects innovate in bringing people from all parts of the community together to create something truly special.”
Trudi Beswick, CEO at Caudwell Children, said:
“Our All Roads Lead to Alexander project is really ambitious; we’re aiming to work with 1,000 young disabled people, their siblings and families in Birmingham and Sandwell who have links to Commonwealth nations and territories over the next two years.
“We’ll do this through a series of music workshops, in partnership with local communities and organisations to help improve mental health and wellbeing, and a celebratory performance in 2022. We are very excited to deliver the project, as it will help us expand on the charity’s work in helping disabled children reach their full potential, especially in the West Midlands.”
Raidene Carter, Executive Producer of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme, said:
“This fund will support three inspirational organisations and, importantly, bring a much needed financial and moral boost to the cultural and charity sectors through uncertain times.
“Caudwell Children’s project demonstrates the power of the arts in giving voice to underrepresented communities across Birmingham, bringing together hundreds of disabled and non-disabled people to create a series of exciting performance moments for the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme.
“Our collaboration with Spirit of 2012 is a wonderful example of Birmingham 2022’s ambition to create a Games for everyone. We’ve loved being part of the journey so far and I can’t wait to see how the creative ideas and incredible ambition for inclusion come together for the wider public to enjoy in 2022.