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Ellie Simmonds joins volunteers as Birmingham 2022 applications open

Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds volunteered to help clean up canals as part of a push to recruit more than 13,000 Birmingham 2022 helpers.

The five-time Paralympic gold medallist was appointed to the organising committee for Birmingham 2022 back in 2019, and will make her Commonwealth debut next year.

As part of the preparations for the event, the search has begun to find volunteers willing to support the home Games.

Coinciding with National Volunteers’ Week, applications are now open to join what will be known as the “Commonwealth Collective” – something Simmonds described as a ‘unique opportunity’.

To mark the launch of the volunteering applications, the 26-year-old took the time to try out some of the tasks that the ‘Commonwealth Collective’ might typically handle.

Originating from Walsall, she spent the day helping to clean up canals in her local community with litter picking charity ‘World Against Single Use Plastic’ (WASUP).

Local hero Simmonds donned a high-vis jacket and grabber to join the squad in their litter picking along the water.

Simmonds said: “Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Commonwealth Games, the unsung heroes that allow us as athletes to succeed.

“Volunteering at WASUP was a fantastic way for me to give back to my local community in Walsall and I hope it inspires others to do the same.

“Volunteering at Birmingham 2022 will be a unique opportunity to contribute to the community and experience a home Games, so I’d encourage people of the West Midlands to submit an application. Even my parents and my coach are going to apply!”

Backbone of any great Games

The majority of volunteer roles available don’t require any formal experience or qualifications, with full training provided.

Roles include drivers, first aiders, meet and greeters, venue preppers, kit carriers, courtside assistants, and everything in between.

Those who choose the get involved will receive approximately 250,000 hours of training and complete one million hours of volunteer time.

Applicants must be aged 18 by 1 June 2022, with a young volunteer programme for 14-17 year olds set to begin recruitment in autumn.

The Minister for Sport and Tourism, Nigel Huddleston, added: “Volunteers are the backbone of any great Games, and the Commonwealth Collective will be no different.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity for people across the UK to play a part in the biggest sporting and cultural event ever to be held in the West Midlands.

“As the faces of Birmingham 2022, this team of volunteers will represent the very best of the region, the country and the modern Commonwealth.”

To apply and find out more, visit www.birmingham2022.com.